Stoke didn’t enjoy the best 2016/17 season as the Potters couldn’t improve on three successive 9th placed finishes.
A lot went wrong for Stoke, and this article will assess what went wrong for Mark Hughes’ side.
A big disappointment was how uninterested the Potters looked in a lot of games. A poor start to the season didn’t help matters as Stoke had to wait until the 15th of October for their first win in the league.
Players like Wilfried Bony never lived up to expectations at Stoke and Hughes failed to motivate his players for big games and Stoke’s abysmal record against the top six proves that the Welshman isn’t a great motivator. Stoke only picked up three points from a possible 36 against the top six.
Games such as away at Swansea and Middlesbrough showed Stoke lacked killer instinct. Apart from the relegated trio and West Brom, Stoke registered the least amount of shots on goal in the league.
Stoke was initially relying on Bony to score. However, he only scored twice in the league. In fact, 36-year-old Peter Crouch finished as Stoke’s top goalscorer with ten goals.
In the summer it is clear that Stoke must bring in a goal scorer like Michy Batshuyai on loan. It is clear that Batshuayi is frustrated with the lack of football at Chelsea. Therefore, a loan move to Stoke could bode well for both parties.
Service was a massive problem as well last year. The player with the most assists was Marko Arnautovic – registering just five all season. The closest competitor was 31-year-old Charlie Adam who got three assists to his name.
Despite being overloaded on midfield, Stoke should look to bring in a box to box midfielder.
A perfect fit would be Marcelo Brozovic, a player that Stoke was linked with a move in August last year. He also attracted the attention of Everton.
The 24-year-old is renowned for his precise passing and attacking prowess. However, he can also defend when he needs to, making him the perfect player alongside Joe Allen.
Despite being the manager that lead Stoke to their joint best top-flight finish in 40 years, maybe a change in manager is needed.
Bony have proved to be a waste of money and Hughes failed to motivate his team. The squad available to him should have finished in the top ten, but due to some questionable decisions by Hughes, they didn’t.
At the start of the season, Stoke showed an inability to defend set -pieces, and it took until November for Hughes to make a change. As well as this, Hughes didn’t do enough when Stoke were leading games.
Games such as Leicester at home and Bournemouth away saw Stoke squander leads and complacency may have caused this.
Maybe a new manager will be able to take Stoke to that next level.
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