After a 2-1 win away at Watford last March, Stoke City were safe in seventh place and on course for their best ever Premier League finish. Mark Hughes’ men have won just one of the subsequent ten matches, but despite the difficult run, things should soon pick up again for the Potters.
Stoke won just one of their final seven games to end last season with a third-straight ninth-place finish, and the Staffordshire outfit have begun the new campaign in the same vein.
An opening day draw at Middlesbrough has been followed by defeats to Manchester City and Everton, causing Stokes’ relegation price to tumble from 9/1 pre-season into 5s.
And with Tottenham heading up to visit Hughes’ side this weekend, that could shorten further.
For all the talk that it’s a tall order to pick up a win at Stoke, Spurs have returned to White Hart Lane with five wins from their last seven Premier League visits.
But before Potters get too downbeat, there’s every reason to think this slow start won’t last much longer.
A favourable fixture list coupled with some savvy Deadline Day deals should see Stoke rapidly rise up the standings.
Wilfried Bony joined on a season-long loan from Manchester City, and with such creative talents around him in Xherdan Shaqiri, Marko Arnautovic and Bojan, could really thrive this season and can arguably become the club’s finest Premier League centre-forward.
Joe Allen should keep things ticking over in midfield after arriving from Liverpool, while Bruno Martins Indi will add extra steel at the back.
And after Spurs have headed back down the M6 on Saturday, five of Stoke’s next six fixtures will see them play teams who finished in the bottom half (or the Championship) last term.
Trips to Crystal Palace and Hull will intersperse home ties versus West Brom, Swansea and Sunderland, with only a visit to Manchester United a match where Stoke will be real underdogs in that run.
The final game of this stretch comes on October 31, so as Halloween calls, only then we’ll see a true reading of how frightening Stoke’s season may be.
Hopefully for Potters fans, there won’t be anything to be scared of.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.