Stoke City have had a disastrous start to the new season and with everyone expecting the Potters to finally complete their transformation as a physical AND ball playing team under Mark Hughes, the initial matches have knocked the wind out of their sails. But there can be a couple of reasons attributed to their current position at the bottom of the table. Their search or a striker went on till the deadline day as they had to change their plans at the last moment after failing to land Berahino.
Shaqiri has been injured since salvaging a draw against Middlesbrough and Arnautovic has been off colour till now. But after a successful deadline day they look a far more formidable side and Hughes will be desperate for his players to start playing to their potential. Wilfried Bony has the potential to be one of their most important signings and if he can recapture the form from his Swansea days, Stoke fans will be in for a treat. His physique and his ability to hold on to the ball along with his finish prowess will add another dimension to their play. Wollscheid made may for Bruno Martins Indi and the defender is certainly an upgrade.
PREDICTED STARTING ELEVEN WITH THEIR NEW SIGNINGS (4-2-3-1)
Jack Butland will be the long term option in goal and he has been missed dearly. Glen Johnson’s return will come as a relief as his offensive prowess has been missed badly. Ryan Shawcross will hope his partnership with the solid Bruno Martins Indi is a successful one. It certainly has the potential to recreate his alliance with Robert Huth when the two of them represented a rock in the Stoke defence. Eric Pieters will hope to keep his place at left-back.
Imbula has had an enterprising start to the season and has looked like their most assured player till now. He has shown admirable control on the ball and has been a driving force from the double pivot. Bojan will hope to improve on his end product and with better players around him, he just might be able to do that.
Arnautovic still remains their most important player and most of the play is likely to come through him in the advanced areas at least. He will look to come back refreshed and with Wilfried Bony available to finish his passes they will hope to start off a new partnership. Xherdan Shaqiri’s absence has been felt and he will look to try and conjure his moments of magic.