Stoke City

Ti­tle odds 2016-17 250-1

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE -

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.

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