Article by @scfc_fan43
The 2016/17 season was an underwhelming for The Potters who couldn’t improve on three successive 9th placed finishes. Instead, The Potters had to settle for an uninspiring 13th placed finish. However, we learnt a lot from the season so here are three things we learnt from Stoke City’s 2016/17 campaign.
1.) Stoke need a goalscorer
It is easy to see that The Potters need a striker who will hit 15 or more goals a season. Last season Wilfred Bony only scored two goals and Stoke’s top goalscorer was 36-year-old, Peter Crouch who managed 10 Premier League goals. A player like Michy Batshuyai would be good to get on loan as he is being starved of first-team football at Stamford Bridge. However, a good permanent acquisition would be Christian Benteke. The Belgian striker scored 15 league goals for Crystal Palace last season which would significantly boost Stoke’s chances of getting back in the top half for next season.
While Palace may be unwilling to sell their key man it is a transfer which could happen. Furthermore, if Berhaino starts firing next year Benteke and Berhaino could become a deadly partnership. However, if Stoke can’t get Benteke they should look at Tammy Abraham. The Chelsea striker was on loan at Bristol City last year and scored 23 goals in 41 games and with Newcastle and Brighton interested Stoke could easily swoop in and get him. The striker could prove to be deadly in the premier league however, it is a bit of a gamble due to his young age but if he starts firing he would be a force to be reckoned with.
2.) Stoke must stop being intimidated by the top six teams
Last season Stoke struggled against the top six which of course is understandable however, Stoke should’ve done a lot better against them. The Potters first game against a top six team was at home to Man City. Stoke lost 4-1. The Potters are better than that and especially at home where the Bet365 stadium is usually a frightening place to go for away teams. Stoke have also shown that they can compete with Man City after they held them to a 0-0 draw away at the Etihad. Stoke ended up with only 3 points from a possible 36 against the top six sides. Mark Hughes needs to change the mentality when going into big games against the top six.
At home Stoke need to attack these teams more as we’ve seen what happens in the past when Stoke attack at home they dominate and win. Away from home Stoke need to calm down if they take the lead. We saw that against Arsenal and Liverpool last year Stoke were shocked at taking the lead and after the opposition got the equaliser Stoke gave up and crumbled. The mentality going into other games must change as well. Stoke only got a point at Middlesbrough last year and lost 2-0 to relegation-threatened Swansea. It seemed like Mark Hughes just let them relax and get complacent it certain games. This must change for next season as the teams that are coming up will make light work of Stoke if The Potters take them lightly.
3.) Stoke need a box-to-box midfielder
The Potters need a box-to-box midfielder to go alongside Joe Allen. I would like to see Stoke bring in Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford. Many Watford fans regard him as their player of the season and he is exactly what The Potters currently need. He is only 24 and has proved to be a rock defensively and he can offer stability in front of the defence which is what the Potters need. Furthermore, a player like Fabian Delph would also be good as he is currently being wasted at Man City. Delph only made 13 appearances last season and a majority of them were from the bench. Stoke could probably pick him up for a reasonable price and Delph would offer something different in the midfield for Stoke.
What are your thoughts on Stoke City’s season? How could Mark Hughes best improve his side for the new campaign? Let us know by voting below:
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Photo by Ben Sutherland