Stoke City had a troublesome start to their season this time out. After finishing ninth in the Premier League in each of the last three seasons, this was supposed to be their big season when they were expected to take a leap to the next step that is European football. The Potters had a nightmare start to their Premier League campaign but things have quickly improved as Stoke City are unbeaten since the fifth game week.
Now, let us take a look at the Potters’ strong areas and weak areas. Club football will once again resume from the next weekend after the international break. Should the Stoke fans keep high hopes from their team? Let us discuss.
Stoke City’s have an able and capable manager in Mark Hughes who has plenty of experience in English football both as a player and a manager. Before his arrival, Stoke used to be notorious for their ugly and physical football but it has changed drastically in the last few years.
Stoke City are now one of the most attractive teams in the Premier League and have quality players in the form of Shaqiri, Allen, Arnautovic, Bojan, Shawcross and many more.
Stoke City do have quality in every position. What they need are team chemistry and consistency. The likes of Arnautovic, Imbula have struggled to find their usual form so far this season and Hughes need to extract the best out of each individual.
Stoke City had a defensive disaster in the first few games but their defence has improved of late. The back four needs to keep up their game at this level.
With Peter Crouch at the dusk of his career and Mame Diouf clearly not being good enough to be Stoke City’s first-choice number nine, Hughes had to bring in a potent centre-forward this summer. A proven hitman in the Premier League with Swansea City and mega-money flop at Manchester City after that, Wilfred Bony was brought in on loan on the deadline day. The Ivorian looked like a player who could put and end to Stoke’s goalscoring woes but he has been a letdown at Bet365 Stadium.
From 9 games in all competitions this season, Bony has scored just twice, both in the same game against his former club Swansea City. Stoke City’s biggest weakness is their attack. Arnautovic having a dry spell in front of goal has made things worse. Hughes must solve this crisis in January unless things improve by the time.