Title odds 2016-17 250-1
Star man Jack Butland
The goalkeeper underlined why he has been so highly rated for years. Before his season was cruelly ended by injury, his performances were so consistently brilliant that he was putting genuine pressure on Joe Hart for the England No 1 jersey.
What went right
The home wins over Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United were typically stirring affairs and even raised hopes of a top-six finish. The attacking axis of Shaqiri, Bojan and Marko Arnautovic was a pleasure to watch, while Butland has really come of age.
What went wrong?
Will Stoke ever have another season plagued by so many injuries? Butland, Shaqiri, Ryan Shawcross, Glen Johnson, Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland were all injured at some point. Home form has also been surprisingly poor.
Lame duck Shaqiri
The midfielder has sprinkled stardust but there is a nagging feeling that he could have done more. Stoke are not in a position to spend £12 million on players who drift in and out of games and Shaqiri has frequently gone missing despite his undoubted skills.
What’s the verdict on Mark Hughes?
Hughes will know that a season which promised so much faded badly in the final weeks, due to the sheer number of key players out injured. But there has been further progress this season and another top-half finish.