Last Season – 9th
Last Season Review: Stoke City ended their last campaign on an extreme high, Mark Hughes manifested The Potters into a versatile force leading to them recording their highest ever points tally in the Premier League. It is a shame Stoke was so inconsistent throughout the year losing to sides such as Burnley & Leicester only to go and win at the Etihad and then perfectly round off the season with a 6-1 annihilation of Liverpool. If they could have added some balance and moldability to their performances they may have finished even higher.
Key Player: Bojan
It was extremely unfortunate that Stoke had to play the majority of last season without starlet Bojan Krkić who picked up a knee injury against Rochdale. However the man whom was once labelled the next Messi is fit and relishing the challenge of the upcoming season. Bojan has experience in abundance at several top European clubs, his pace, flair and ability to frighten defenders adds a dimension to the Stoke team that has recently been lacklustre at the Britannia. If he can stay fit ensuring positive link up play with new signings Ibrahim Afellay & Joselu this new front line alliance could prove vital in the upcoming campaign as a far more formidable attacking force.
2015/16 Season Preview:
Stoke’s most notable performer last season was goalkeeper Asmir Begovic who has recently transferred to champions Chelsea, veteran Shay Given has been drafted in but it is likely Jack Butland will take over as #1 which will certainly increase his chances in the England setup should he perform well. A further intelligent signing is that of Glen Johnson, contrary to his frequent criticisms Johnson is still a solid full-back possessing the experience and know-how to perform consistently well. N’zonzi who was also one of the stand out players last year has packed his bags for Seville where he will be playing Champions League football for the Europa League winners; Dutch youngster Marco van Ginkel has been acquired on loan as a temporary replacement, he will undoubtedly do a sufficient job in the centre of midfield thriving under Hughes. A key factor in Stoke’s recent success is their versatility in the way they approach matches, Hughes sets up his team to play completely differently depending on the opponent. They can play slick free-flowing football then change their techniques if the game plan fails, Mark Hughes’ tactical mind has been nothing but advantageous and successful for Stoke. Despite losing arguably their two best players in Begovic & N’Zonzi they certainly have attained match winners in Afellay & Joselu as they will be looking to prove themselves in English football. Stoke will coast to a top half finish with ease but unless Hughes makes one or two more good signings I believe they will finish just shy of how well they did last time out.
Predicted Finish – 10th