So to all you critics, here's the Guardian's reaction:
Given the amount of time the ball spends in the air during Stoke's matches, their players have a head for heights but a quick look at the league table may bring on a few nosebleeds. Still unbeaten, they are fourth, four points off the leading Manchester clubs and one point ahead of Liverpool, whom they defeated 1-0 on Saturday, albeit with a fair bit of luck. There is, of course, a long way to go yet and Tony Pulis's side are unlikely to be challenging for the Champions League by the end of the season; the glass ceiling remains intact, no matter how desperate Stoke might be to shatter it.
Even so, this should be another successful season for them, following one in which they reached the FA Cup final and qualified for the Europa League, although they did finish only 13th in the league. They will be aiming for much better than that this time, particularly given the backing of Peter Coates, who has allowed Pulis to sign Peter Crouch, Wilson Palacios, Matthew Upson and Jonathan Woodgate during the summer. Clearly Stoke are not about to alter their no-nonsense style – uncompromising defending, pace on the flanks, aerial threat in attack and a reliance on set pieces – but after a wobble at the start of the year, everything is in working order again. Watching them in the Europe this season promises to be fascinating.