Year Formed

1863

Stadium

Britannia Stadium

Capacity

27,902
 

Last 10 years league finishing positions

 
 

Best Season

There are only a few points separating Stoke’s past three seasons which have proved the Potters’ most successful of the Premier League era: 2013/14 (50 points), 2014/15 (54) and 2015/16 (51). Club chairman Peter Coates says he’s comfortable with the state of play but manager Mark Hughes will be hoping to push ahead in 2016/17.

 

How they fared last season

It’s a sign of just how far the Potters have come that a third straight 9th place finish was met with frustration by the gaffer and fans. Stoke started the campaign with eight new signings but it was seven games before they recorded their first win. A debilitating injury toll helped cruel chances of a top six finish.

41
number of goals
scored last season
55
number of goals
conceded last season
4
red cards
51
yellow cards
 

Team Strengths

Last season’s wins against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea demonstrated that when they’re on song, the Potters can beat anyone at home.

And while Britannia has long been a graveyard for high-flyers, Stoke’s continued improvement on the road could be the catalyst for further inroads up the table.

Hughes’s aggressive recruitment is also starting to pay dividends.

Marko Arnautovic scored 11 goals in the Premier League – his best return since joining the Potters.

Meanwhile 2015/16 signings Xherdan Shaqiri, attacker Ibrahim Afellay, Joselu and Giannelli Imbula, whose $37m five-and-a-half-year deal was a club record, will all be better for having an Premier League season, or part thereof, under their belts.

An audacious July bid to gazump Valencia’s $15m play for Portuguese winger Nani shows Stoke won’t die wondering.

 

Weaknesses

Their latest 9th placed finish can’t hide the fact that Stoke, on 51 points, were as close to 14th-placed Bournemouth as they were to 8th-placed Liverpool.

The club has cemented itself as a top 10 side but inconsistency remains their Achilles heel.

A 2-0 Boxing Day home win over Manchester United followed by a stunning 4-3 comeback triumph over Everton at Goodison Park was followed by a frustrating stoppage time loss to West Brom.

The rollercoaster ride for Potters fans was typified by three straight 3-0 league losses from late January followed by three consecutive victories.

In March, they were just five points off Champions League football but a winless April, including consecutive 1-4, 0-4, 0-4 defeats, scuppered what looked like a strong push for Europe.

 

Formation

It’s a work in progress, but the steady introduction of flair players is slowly evolving the team from long ball enthusiasts to a team of pass masters.

 

Star Player

Despite the club’s defensive frailties, goalkeeper Jack Butland was superb between the sticks and has marked himself out as a future England star.

The departure of Asmir Begovic saw the 23-year-old handed the No.1 jersey ahead of last season and he didn’t disappoint, stringing together a number of man of the match performances.

Saving an Eden Hazard penalty in a dramatic shootout sent Chelsea crashing out of the Capital One Cup.

The young goalkeeper’s season was cut short when he broke his ankle on international duty in March, but by that stage he had already accrued 10 clean sheets.

In the same month, he was signed to a long-term contract with Stoke which will see the gloveman at the West Midlands club until 2021.

 

Mark Hughes

Manager

After a disappointing spell at QPR, former Wales international Mark Hughes arrived at Britannia Stadium in May 2013 with a lot to prove and immediately set about injecting some creativity into the line-up.

It’s a testament to the new vibe “Sparky” has brought to unfashionable Stoke that the club is now in a position to attract quality ball players.

At the same time, the Potters have helped repair Hughes’s managerial reputation built at Blackburn Rovers but squandered in subsequent appointments.

He took Rovers to back-to-back 6th-placed finishes but a largely unsuccessful and big-spending stint at Manchester City, followed by an acrimonious split with Fulham had many questioning his managerial chops for the big leagues.