Formed: 1863 Manager: Mark Hughes Stadium: Britannia Stadium Capacity: 27,740 Previous years in Premier League: 7 Last 3 seasons: 2014/15: 9th 2013/14: 9th 2012/13: 13th Best finish: 9th (2014/15) Opening day fixture: Liverpool (H), Aug 9 Final day fixture: West Ham (H), May 15
This season’s aim:
After two successive ninth-placed finishes, Mark Hughes will want his Stoke side to start pushing for a Europa League spot this season. The Welshman has gradually integrated an attractive brand of football during his time with the Potters and his business over the summer indicates this will continue. The signing of Barcelona’s Ibrahim Afellay is exciting, while Joselu and Marco van Ginkel – who has joined on a season-long loan from Chelsea – provide extra quality to the squad. Having lost two key players in Asmir Begovic and Steven N’Zonzi, the additions of the Premier League experienced duo of Shay Given and Glen Johnson was also a smart move. Bojan, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in January, is also close to a first-team return, which is a big boost after the Spaniard made an impressive start last term.
Philipp Wollscheid (Bayer Leverkusen), Jakob Haugaard (FC Midtjylland), Joselu (Hannover 96), Shay Given (Aston Villa), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Moha El Ouriachi (Barcelona), Dom Telford (Blackpool), Mark Waddington (Blackpool), Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona)
Transfers out: Wilson Palacios (Released), Thomas Sorensen (Released), Andy Wilkinson (Released), Robert Huth (Leicester City), Steven N’Zonzi (Sevilla), Jamie Ness (Scunthorpe United), Asmir Begovic (Chelsea)
Star Player: Charlie Adam
Despite enduring a difficult spell with Liverpool previously, Adam has become somewhat of a midfield lynchpin since his move to the Britannia Stadium in 2012. The Scotland international scored seven goals in 29 appearances in the 2014/15 campaign, including a spectacular strike from inside his own half against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The former Blackpool man has quickly become a firm fans’ favourite, and signed a new deal in June that will keep him with the Potters until 2017. Manager Mark Hughes will now be hoping that the 29-year-old can help lead the club into Europe.
Shoot’s Stoke blogger: Joe Haynes
Blogger’s view: “Since Mark Hughes has taken over, the progress has been second to none, and two consecutive top-10 finishes and points records was beyond any Stoke fans’ wildest dreams. It’s a big ask to beat that again, but anywhere between 8th-11 would represent another solid season for the Potters. The start against Liverpool will be strange following the 6-1 on the final day of last season. It’s important to not expect too much early on, it took time for the side to gel last season and this campaign will be no different. Having Bojan back will he a huge boost. As well as undoubted talent on the pitch, he’s a fan favourite too so he’ll give the fans a lift from the get go.
Blogger’s key man: Bojan
Shoot Says: Top-10 finish