Despite a sour end to the 2015-16 season, the 9th place finish can be seen as a success. It was the Potter’s 3rd consecutive finish in the top half of the table. Not too long ago the Stoke faithful wouldn’t have fathomed the possibility of the likes of Shaqiri and Afellay playing for their club. Mark Hughes is the man who must be credited with their strong finishes over the last few seasons. The Welsh manager has completely revamped Stoke’s playing style from boring long balls to inventive attacking play. The goal for Stoke this season would be another top half finish and perhaps even some Silverware in the form of either the FA or League Cup.
Stoke City 2016-17 Season Preview
Upon joining the club in 2013, Mark Hughes knew he had a hard task at winning over the Stoke supporters. A “Hughes Out” banner waved immediately upon his appointment at the club . 3 years on Mark Hughes is adored and praised by the same supporters.
Heading into the new campaign one area on the pitch where Mark Hughes needs to address is upfront. Austrian Marko Arnautovic did well last season and was the only Stoke player to score 10 or more goals last season. Mark Hughes needs to bring in a proven striker but has been unsuccessful in his attempts so far.
Sadio Berahino and Wilfred Bony are the names linked with a move to the club and Hughes must ensure he signs atleast one of them before the close of the transfer window. The arrival of a striker will help the likes of Shaqiri, Afellay and Bojan all of whom had seen their creative attacking play go to waste with the lack of finishing.
Despite a 9th place finish last season there are many who believe Stoke could have done better. Numerous injury troubles coupled with a lack of goal scoring options saw them picking up only 8 points from their final 9 games and finished 9 points behind Liverpool at 8th.
Mark Hughes has a good squad at his disposal & if they manage to stay clear of any injury troubles and also add a proven striker to their ranks there is no doubt that Stoke can break into the Top 10 once again.
Despite getting his season cut short due to injury last season, 24 year old Jack Butland was voted as Stoke’s player of the season. The young keeper should be their first choice keeper for the season. The club has adequate back in up Shay Given and Jakob Haugaard to replace Butland if his to have a slump in form or injury troubles.
A recurring back injury limited club captain Ryan Shawcross’s appearances to just 23 last season. If fit Shawcross is one the division’s best center backs and Hughes will be hoping he stays fit for the whole season. Hughes will need to add another reliable center back to partner Shawcross even though Philipp Wollscheid did do a decent enough job last term. The club are reportedly set to sign FC Porto’s Bruno Martins Indi on loan before the close of the transfer window .
Erik Peters and Glen Johnson should start the season as the first choice wing backs. In midfield new arrival Joe Allen should partner January arrival Giannelli Imbula. Further up field Stoke are spoiled for choices with the likes of Ibrahim Afellay, 19 year old Ramadan Sobhi and Xherdan Shaqiri.
It’s already been highlighted the need to add an striker. If the clubs fails to do so then the onus will be on likes of Arnatovic, Mame Biram Diouf and Bojan to provide them with the goals.
Stoke City 2016-17 Season Prediction
Similar to the 2015-16 season, Stoke have started this season poorly accumulating just a single point from their three games so far. The club does have a kind set of fixtures coming up so bet on them to turn it around sooner rather than later. Can Stoke improve on their 9th place finish from last season? It will be dependent on whether they can add a striker. Another area they’ll need to improve upon is defense which was guilty of conceding too many cheap goals last term. Stoke will have a decent season with some good results against the top teams but they’ll find themselves sitting in mid-table by end of the season.
Verdict: – 11th Place
Player to Watch – Stoke City 2016-17
To be fair Shaqiri had a fairly decent season with the Potters last term. His return of just 3 goals and 6 assists from 32 games isn’t a fair reflection to his contribution to the club. Shaqiri comes into the new season on the back of strong European Championship with Switzerland and will be hoping to improve his numbers this season. If the club signs a quality striker and Shaqiri himself remains fit over the entire campaign then you can count on the Alpine Messi to make mark this season.
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Betting Tips – Stoke City 2016-17
1. Premier League Champions – 1001.00 (Bet 365)
2. Relegation – 9.00 (Betway)
3. Most League Assists – Xherdan Shaqiri – 81.00 (888 Sport)
An outside contender to top the assists chart this season. The Swiss maestro had 6 to his name last season and can be banked upon to improve that tally this season. Our pick is Kevin de Bryune but Shaqiri with the odds on offer is an attractive bet you might want to keep in mind.
4. Top 10 – 4.50 (Paddypower)
The odds on offer are really good considering Stoke are team that managed to finish among the top 10 in each of the last 3 season. The Premier League promises to incredibly competitive this year we can see Stoke finishing just outside the top 10. We won’t advice you to not bet on this but not one that we’ll be making.
5. To Finish in the Bottom-half – 1.36 (Skybet)
Our sure fire bet for Stoke but the odds on offer are poor though so it’s upto you to decide.
All Odds courtesy of Oddschecker 
Transfers In – Stoke City 2016-17
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Stoke City – 2015/16 Stats
Other Season Prediction and Betting Tips
 Metrotripo.tk, Stoke appoint Mark Hughes as manager
 Skysports.com, Bruno Martins Indi to Stoke City
 Oddschecker.com, Oddschecker home page