Here are our top five...
The Bosnian keeper has had a superb season between the sticks at the Britannia, and if he does leave the club in the summer, young Jack Butland will have some big shoes to fill. Before Christmas, the Stoke defence was excellent, and even as their season has tailed away Begovic has performed consistently well in goal to help ensure they did not get dragged any closer to the relegation zone.
A first England call up was a just reward for Shawcross who was a key part at the heart of the Potter’s defence once again this season. The 25 year old embodies the spirit of the club, and although he isn’t blameless for their dip of form over the past few months, he certainly cannot be faulted for a lack of effort in attempting to turn around the slump.
N’Zonzi’s season has mirrored Stoke’s, as the 24 year old’s performances have fallen off since the turn of the year. However in the first half of the season N’Zonzi was excellent in the heart of Stoke’s midfield, and as the team picked up in recent weeks to ensure their Premier League status N’Zonzi recovered some of the swagger he displayed before Christmas.
Although Huth has not been as influential as Shawcross in the heart of the defence, it is his partnership with the English player that enabled Stoke to produce their remarkable defensive run in the first half of the season. If Stoke can keep hold of both Huth and Shawcross, and surround the pairing with some extra quality next season, then they should be well set for another year in the top flight.
If Cameron Jerome had been given more time on the pitch, he might well have claimed a spot in this top five, but given the lack of goals from all of Stoke’s out and out forwards, Jon Walters squeaks in as their top scorer.
image: © ronnie macdonald