Thursday, 12 August 2010

Premier League Preview - Stoke City

Stoke City

Tony Pulis has worked wonders at the Britannia stadium since gaining his Stoke side to promotion in 2008. The Potters finished 12th in their first season back in the top flight and went one step better last season by finishing 11th. They are known for their very hard working squad, their exceptional home form and their direct approach.

Last season Stoke reached the 6th round of the FA Cup losing to eventual winners; Chelsea. I’m fully convinced with a few additions, and a good cup run, Stoke could establish their mainstay in the Premier League.

Key Player: Ryan Shawcross

The 22 year old established himself as one of the most promising centre backs in the Premiership, while gaining an international call up to the England squad for the friendly against Egypt. Shawcross played 28 games in the league last year, with the only blight on a faultless season being the red card at home to Arsenal.

The Stoke vice-captain has a bright future in Premier League and will be the focal point of the club for years to come.

Manager: Tony Pulis

Key Signing: Kenwyne Jones

The Trinidadian striker spent 3 years at Sunderland before completing and £8million move to the Britannia stadium, to join up with fellow Caribbean Ricardo Fuller. The 25 year old had an injury hit season last year, and was linked with a move to Liverpool in the January transfer window, however he managed to play in 34 appearances, scoring just 9 goals. Never the prolific striker, he should slot into the Stoke set up quite easily and be a big hit at the Britannia.

Aims: Comfortable mid table progression

Prediction: 10th

After two seasons are mid table safety, I fully expect more of the same from Stoke this year, while the prospect of a strong cup run is a real possibility.

First Five Fixtures: Wolves (A), Tottenham (H), Chelsea (A), Aston Villa (H), West Ham (H)

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