The new Premier League season is inching ever nearer, so it’s time to start thinking about how the upcoming campaign will shake out.
In the build-up to the new season we’re profiling each of the 20 top-flight clubs, from Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to Premier League newboys Brighton & Hove Albion.
Our next team in the spotlight is Stoke City…
Stoke City are the model of consistency. Since reaching the Premier League in 2008 the Potters have always finished between ninth and 14th, with between 42 and 54 points.
They’ve never been in top six contention, but equally have never had to sweat over relegation.
So will we see more of the same mid-table steadiness for Mark Hughes’ side this term? Probably.
Marko Arnautovic and Jonathan Walters have gone, but quality remains in Xherdan Shaqiri, Gianni Imbula, Saido Berahino and Ibrahim Afellay.
The Stoke boss has admitted that the inflated transfer market makes signings a challenge, and the arrivals of Darren Fletcher and Kurt Zouma are savvy yet uninspiring bits of business.
And it’s hard to imagine that this Potters side will be an improvement on the one which finished 13th last time around.
Hughes’ side should be too good to go down, but they might find things getting a little uncomfortable if they aren’t careful.
Stoke City – 2017-18
Key arrivals: Darren Fletcher, Kurt Zouma
Key departures: Marko Arnautovic, Jonathan Walters
Man to watch: Saido Berahino
Title odds: 750/1
Best bet: Bottom half finish @ 4/11
We say: Five of their 11 wins last year came against relegated sides, and they can’t rely on that again. Have been quiet in the transfer market and though they should have plenty in hand to avoid a relegation scrap, will need to find consistency to secure another mid-table finish.
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