With just a few days to go for the start of the new season, Stoke City will start their 10th consecutive season in the top flight. After three consecutive 9th place finishes, the Potters finishes 13th last season, which can be considered poor as compared to their previous performances. This included 5 defeats in their first 6 matches, scoring just 41 goals and conceding a whopping 56. This season as well they face a tough start, facing Everton, Arsenal, Manchester United in the first 4 fixtures. Stoke will look to avoid a repeat of the last season where they were fighting in the relegation zone for the first couple of months. The transfer season hasn’t been great as they’ve lost some important players although they have made a couple of important signings and their results during the preseason weren’t whelming as well.
Goalkeepers: Lee Grant, Jakob Haugaard, Jack Butland
After being sidelined due to injury last season and making only 5 appearances, Jack Butland is most likely to be the first choice keeper at Stoke City for the upcoming season.
Defenders: Erik Pieters, Marc Muniesa, Glen Johnson, Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron, Phillip Wollscheid, Josh Tymon, Kurt Zouma
The Potter will rely heavily on their defense. They have good center backs with Zouma on loan from Chelsea and a pretty decent Ryan Shawcross.
Midfielders: Joe Allen, Stephen Ireland, Ibrahim Affellay, Charlie Adam, Ramadan Sobhi, Giannelli Imbula, Xherdan Shaqiri, Darren Fletcher
Manager Mark Hughes has said more youngest Ramadan Sobhi is in his plans for the future as he had impressed in his breakthrough season with 17 appearances. With Arnautovic sold, the 20-year-old Egyptian will face less competition and will have a good chance to further impress his manager.
Glenn Whelan’s sale will affect them badly
But the arrival of Darren Fletcher from West Bromwich Albion will provide a good amount of experience to the squad and will make up for the loss of Glenn Whelan
Forwards: Saido Berahino, Julien N’Goy, Thibaud Verlinden, Joselu, Mame Diouf, Peter Crouch, Bojan
Marco Arnautovic may probably be the biggest loss for any club in the Premier League this season. Peter Crouch lacks pace and Berahino operates better with a helping man up front which may force Mark Hughes to play with 2 strikers up front. They have good backup options for forwards. The sale of Jon Walters for a low fee came as a surprise for many
Players to watch out for
Jack Butland: The goalkeeper will be keen to play a full season after an injury curtailed last season
Ramadan Sobhi: Mark Hughes had extended his support to the youngster and will be interesting to see his performance this season.
Stoke City can be called specialists in finishing mid table, having finished no better than 9th and no worse than 14th in their 10 seasons in the top flight. This season Southampton, West Ham United and AFC Bournemouth look much better than them who will fight for that mid table position. With the team they have, Stoke City can be expected to finish 11th in the league