Writer: Phil Williams
Date:Friday August 15 2014
With the clock ticking down to the start of the new Premier league season stoke are making preparations to take on Aston Villa opening day of the season at the Britannia stadium on Saturday the 16th of August. lets take a look at Stoke City's summer preparations for the new season ahead.
Stoke City have so far made 5 summer signings in the transfer window with the possibility for at least one more to come. the following five players are the new recruits looking to make an impact?
Phil Bardsley- Free transfer from Sunderland. He will be competing for the right back position with Geoff Cameron and Andy Wilkinson. After such a strong display from Geoff Cameron last season out I can not see Phil Bardsley knocking him out the starting XI but he will certainly provide some stiff competition but that is good thing.
Steve Sidwell- Free transfer from Fulham. Their is already a lot of competition for midfield at Stoke and having someone like Sidwell come in only improves that. Manager Mark Hughes will have a selection headache for midfield ahead of the opening game. Steve Sidwell is a great player and he is a great addition to Stoke City.
Dionatan Teixeira- £400,000 from Dukla Banska Bystrica. I know what you thinking? I had never heard of that team either until he arrived but he is young and has that fire inside of him which is hungry for football but the only problem he has is that he is a central defender and with Stoke having Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth it will be difficult for him to break that partnership up. However its cover Stoke have always needed and I expect him to offer stiff competition for the position. One for the Future here.
Mame Biram Diouf- Free transfer from Hannover 96. A player who has already has Premier league experience from his past is now back with a lot to prove to his doubters. Whilst Playing in Germany for Hannover 96 he averaged 1 goal every 3 games which is a good rate and I hope he can do this for Stoke City and show his old Club which happens to be Manchester United what they truly missed out on.
Bojan Krkic- Undisclosed fee from Barcelona. An unbelievable scoop for Stoke. A player already labelled 'the next Lionel Messi' and highly rated by many pundits at home and abroad. I still cant believe he is playing for Stoke This coming season. Young, talented player with the world at his feet and Stoke will show Barcelona why they really should stump up a fortune to buy him back. fantastic signing for the potters.
Starting XI easily if fit.
Borussia Mochengladbach 1-1 Stoke City
1860 Munich 2-0 Stoke City
Schalke 04 2-1 Stoke City
Burton Albion 0-0 Stoke City
Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Stoke City
Stoke City 2-0 Real Betis
SC Freiburg 1-1 Stoke City
A mixed bag of results over pre season with only 1 win from 7 matches. However do not read to much into these results as pre-season is just designed to get the players match fitness levels up to maximum capacity in time for the new season ahead.
Stoke City will be moving onwards and upwards from their fantastic 9th place finish last season. They will provide a tough test for any team this coming season I see them finishing in the top eight easily this season and perhaps even providing competition for the Europa League spot in the premier league which means pushing the likes of Everton and Tottenham all the way. As for the domestic cup competitions I see no reason for why Stoke cant win at least one of them. FA cup or League cup are reachable.
FA CUP- QUATER FINAL (at least)
LEAGUE CUP- SEMI FINAL (at least)
To summarise it all up. Expect Stoke to be the surprise package this season and challenge in the top half of the table all season long. They have a great team put together under the Management of Mark Hughes and they will fear no opposing team this season. To all opposing teams the message is clear. STOKE are pushing forward and they will knock anything out of the way to do so. Come and have ago if you dare.
Date:Friday August 15 2014
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