Stoke City boss Mark Hughes had a good deadline day where the capture of Wilfred Bony and Bruno Martins Indi, both on loan deals made it a decent transfer window for the club. Hughes so far has been able to bring about a change in the approach of the general gameplay of the club and with more attack minded flair players, Stoke City are now one of the teams which do offer some very good football for the neutrals. The Potters do have a very good squad and under the guidance of Mark Hughes they can look forward to having a good season ahead.
Stoke has much quality at the moment up front and while they seem a little bit of lightweight at the back apparently, the Potters do have some decent defenders in their ranks. The Likes of Phil Bardsley, Erik Pieters, Mark Muniesa, Geoff Cameron and club Captain Ryan Shawcross do provide a lot of stability and toughness in the defensive areas.
Hughes allowed Wollscheid to leave on loan to Wolfsburg as he has now brought in 19-year-old Ryan Sweeney from AFC Wimbledon who plays as a defender and is a prospect for the future while in Bruno Martins Indi Hughes have a player with proven international quality who can play in a variety of positions across the back four.
Last season, Stoke City lost 15 games out of their 38 in the league and conceded 55 goals, 14 more than what they managed to score at the other end. The problems with their defence had to do with the absence of Ryan Shawcross, who missed 18 games in the league due to injury. Hughes had to shuffle his backline a bit and it affected the stability with some defensive errors costing the team goals at vital moments.
An established central defensive pairing with a fully fit Shawcross should make things much tighter at the back for sure. Hughes’ side finished in a very respectable 9th place of the table above teams like Chelsea and Everton and finished their season with a total of 51 points. While they would need to score a lot more than what they managed last season, with the recent additions it looks like Hughes do have a greater provision of getting things tighter and more compact this time around.
It is going to be a lot tougher this season with all the teams bolstering their squads with quality additions over the summer. There are a lot of mid-table clubs having attackers of immense quality which they can afford due to their increased spending power so the defenders would need to up their game this season. The Potters would need to do a lot better in their execution upfront scoring more goals while at the back they do have what’s necessary to defend leads. The club would be hoping to batter their position of last year and break into the European places, which has a realistic chance of happening if Hughes can keep his players fit and motivated.