Peter Odemwingie

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Premier League 2016-17 season preview: Stoke City

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The Potters just keep plugging away.

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Steady progress has been the name of the game for Mark Hughes‘ side over the past nine years since they were promoted to the Premier League and this season will be no different. Having flirted with the top six for most of last season, they fell away at a pivotal stage of the campaign.

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Scoring goals has been a slight problem for Stoke but when everything clicks into place, they ooze class at the Bet365 Stadium. That venue is one of the most intimidating (and coldest) places to play in the PL and Stoke’s home record will once again be key if they’re going to finish in the top 10.

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Stoke will finally kick on and finish in the top six because… They have a strong defensive unit, plus new signing Allen will slot seamlessly into midfield to link up with the likes of Bojan and Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic.

Most likely they’ll finish ninth, again: After finishing in ninth in each of the last three PL campaigns, Stoke’s fans will want more but are unlucky to get it. With teams like Liverpool and Chelsea strengthening, plus Everton set for a new era under Ronald Koeman, they could struggle to finish in the top 10. The one area Hughes must strengthen up top with Diouf, Crouch and Joselu all hard workers but hardly prolific.


Best possible XI

—– Butland —–

— Cameron — Shawcross — Wollscheid — Pieters —

—– Allen —– Imbula —–

—- Arnautovic —- Bojan —- Shaqiri —-

—– Diouf —–


Transfers in: Joe Allen ($17 million, Liverpool), Ramadan Sobhi ($6.5 million, Al Ahly)

Transfers out: Ben Barber (Free, York City), Steve Sidwell (Free, Bright & Hove Albion), Yusuf Coban (Free, TGG 1899 Hoffenheim), Dominic Kurasik (Free, Brentford), Peter Odemwingie, Ed Dryden, Bobby Moseley, Ryan O’Reilly, Peter Skapetis, Maston Watkins-Clark (All released)

Last season: Stoke started the season superbly and in the first half of the campaign they’d racked up wins against Chelsea and Manchester City at home. They then faded towards the end of the season but still finished ninth for a third season running. Their aim was to better their record PL points tally of 54 from the previous campaign but they just came up short of that with 51 points on the board. All in all, another steady season for Stoke.

during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Britannia Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England.
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Star player: Marko Arnautovic – Austrian forward signed a new contract over the summer which was a huge boost for the Potters. “Arnie” was their top scorer in the PL last season with 11 goals and he may be given more opportunity to play in his preferred role out wide if the club are successful in recruiting a new striker. When he’s on his game there are few who can stop him. Pace, power and trickery, Arnautovic is a mercurial talent.

Coach’s Corner: Hugheshy has done incredibly well in his three season at Stoke so far. He’s spent wisely and built solidly on what Tony Pulis left behind. The way he has changed Stoke into an attractive team to watch has been subtle but focused and bringing in players like Bojan and Shaqiri has had its ups and downs but has certainly taken Stoke to the next level as they’ve established themselves as a solid top 10 club in the PL. Hughes will now look to push for the top six but he may need a lot more cash to spend on one or two key new players to do it.

Mark Hughes, Stoke City FC

PST predicts: Another season of solidity for Stoke as they’ll be in and around 10th place and if everything clicks and their star man stay clear of injury, they could flirt with a top six finish. Like last season, expect a good cup run from them.

Premier League preseason roundup: Leicester comes from behind, Hull wins, West Ham pegged late

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Leicester City needed a comeback, but they prevailed in their first preseason friendly, a 2-1 victory over League One side Oxford United at Kassam Stadium in Oxford.

The hosts got on the board first with Chris Maguire burying a free kick 14 minutes in. But Leicester City took control from there, and goals from Jeffrey Schlupp and 20-year-old Demarai Gray put the Foxes into a winning position. Riyad Mahrez, Robert Huth, Danny Drinkwater and Wes Morgan all featured for Leicester, while new signing Ahmed Musa also logged minutes. 18-year-old hometown kid Hamza Choudhury started next Drinkwater in N'Golo Kante‘s old position.

The Foxes weren’t the only Premier League side on a winning end today as Hull City brushed aside League Two side Mansfield Town 1-0 at One Call Stadium. 20-year old Jarrod Bowen scored the game’s only goal, but there were two other talking points. On the positive side, Peter Odemwingie featured for the Tigers on trial, as the experienced striker looks for a new club. Unfortunately for Hull, captain Michael Dawson was injured, picking up damage to his MCL.

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West Ham went to Austria to take on Czech side FC Slovacko, and put in a positive performance before two late goals pegged them back to a 2-2 draw. Mark Noble bagged a long-range goal and Ashley Fletcher added a header just after halftime to put the Hammers up 2-0, but with Slaven Bilic having taken out most of the regulars as the game wound down, the Slovacko scored twice in the final five minutes.

Middlesbrough is gearing up for a return to the Premier League, but they have some work to do after a 2-1 loss to La Liga club Real Betis in Marbella, Spain. Jordan Rhodes scored his third goal of the preseason in the second half, but it was too little too late after Dani Ceballos and Ruben Castro had put the Spaniards comfortably ahead. The match was quite the step up in quality for Aitor Karanka’s side, having beaten lower-division sides York City and Doncaster so far.

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Burnley came from behind, needing a late goal to draw level with League Two minnows Morecamb, finishing with a 1-1 scoreline. There was plenty of squad rotation, but Morecambe took the lead midway through the second half before Andre Gray brought it back level 10 minutes later.

Finally, Watford downed 2.Bundesliga club Union Berlin 3-1 in Austria behind goals from Etienne Capoue, Troy Deeney and Steven Berghuis. Capoue needed just 13 minutes to put the Hornets ahead, and Deeney bagged one from the penalty spot just before halftime. Odion Ighalo was also bright, assisting Capoue’s opener and nearly scoring soon after.