By Alex McMahon
Stoke have failed to win any of their opening six Premier League matches
Stoke City, arguably ‘the’ perfect model for newly promoted clubs, have been Premier League regulars since they earned promotion to the top flight back in 2008. Mark Hughes’ men have finished in the top half of the division in each of the last two seasons and the Potters will be keen to climb up the Premier League table in the near future.
Stoke have picked up just three points in their first six fixtures of the campaign and are currently languishing in the relegation zone. However, the Potters should have enough quality to avoid a serious battle for survival and will enjoy a relatively successful season. Here are five reasons why Stoke won’t be relegated at the end of the 2015-16 campaign.
The Potters invested well during the transfer window
Stoke were incredibly active throughout the summer and made a number of key acquisitions to bolster their squad. The likes of Ibrahim Afellay, Marco van Ginkel and Xherdan Shaqiri all joined the Potters this summer while Glen Johnson moved to the Britannia Stadium from fellow Premier League side Liverpool. While these new signings may take a while to adapt to life at Stoke, they are all competent footballers and will play a key role for Mark Hughes’ side in the long term.
Mark Hughes is an experienced top flight manager
The former Manchester City boss has gained a wealth of experience in the Premier League and is the right man to guide Stoke City up the table. Hughes is a talented manager and has enough tactical nous and understanding of the English top flight to lead Stoke away from trouble. The Welshman will be eager for Stoke to finish in the top half of the division once again and his meticulous preparation will help the Potters get ready for each and every game throughout the season.
Stoke have too much talent to go down
The Potters have a gifted squad and, on paper, they are far too good to be relegated down to the Championship. With the likes of Mame Biram Diouf, Marko Arnautovic, Bojan and Afellay, Stoke have a number of flair players and can unlock some of the Premier League’s best defences. Although their newest stars are yet to make a major impact at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke will improve in the near future and will start to win matches once their forward-thinking players begin to click.
They will improve their consistency soon
Stoke have been one of the most inconsistent sides in the early stages of the season. Mark Hughes’ men showed their tenacity and ability to come back from behind away at Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the season while they dropped points from winning positions against both Norwich City and Leicester City in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Stoke have lost twice at the Britannia Stadium, which has been a stronghold for the Potters during their Premier League tenure.
Stoke are set to welcome back defensive stalwart Ryan Shawcross
The Potters are yet to keep a clean sheet in the new campaign and they will welcome back captain and leader Ryan Shawcross with open arms. Shawcross was ruled out for the first two months of the season but Stoke’s talisman could return to the side for their trip to Swansea City on October 19th. Stoke have certainly missed his leadership qualities and organisational skills at the heart of their defence and Shawcross’ return could see the Potters improve significantly at the back.
Do you think Stoke will avoid the drop this season or are the Potters set for a relegation battle? Let us know your thoughts!