If they had replicated their impressive form during the first-half of the 2015/16 season past the turn of the new calendar year, Stoke City would certainly be in with a shout of securing European football next term at the Britannia Stadium.
However; the Potters’ Premier League form has dropped off since the New Year, with Stoke picking up 18 points from a possible 42 on offer so far this year, including six defeats in their 14 league outings.
Mark Hughes’ men, who currently sit ninth in the English top-flight standings, are ten points adrift of a lucrative top four finish with only five games remaining of the campaign.
That is not to say Stoke cannot pull off qualification for a European competition next season; but it is more than likely to come in the form of the Europa League, not the Champions League, if anything.
Twenty-sixteen started off with a thoroughly disappointing 2-1 defeat to former Stoke manager Tony Pulis’ West Brom at the Hawthorns, before three consecutive losses on the bounce against Leicester City, Manchester United and Everton left the club with a mountain to climb come May.
Expected victories over lowly trio AFC Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Newcastle United soon followed, but it looks like they may have left it a little too late this campaign around.