The loss of Tony Pulis will hit Stoke harder than they expect. Fans of the club should look away now, as our pundits predict that you have a very difficult season in store.
With the Premier League season just one week away, 13 of our football pundits have put their heads together to give you a comprehensive set of predictions.
Each pundit predicted where each Premier League club will finish the season, with 20 points for the club predicted to finish 1st, down to 1 point for the club finishing bottom.
We then added up all the points and:
Verdict - Stoke City will finish 18th
Highest prediction: 15th, Lowest prediction: 19th
Jenny Leigh: 16th - Hughes has bought very well and I think they’ll be much better at the Britannia this term, but I still think it’ll be trial and error as he implements his ideas and style on the post-Pulis era.
Alan Dawson: 17th - Stoke have been a reliable and consistent Premier League performer since their promotion a good few years back now, but with an inactive transfer window they could struggle to repeat their exploits of past campaigns.
Graham Morris: 17th - The pervading feeling outside of Stoke was that Tony Pulis had Stoke playing above themselves. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with Mark Hughes surely on his last chance in the big time. I expect Stoke to be flirting with relegation.
Jamie Allen: 18th - One word: Relegation
Ian Bolland: 18th - Changing from Pulis is drastic, not sure Mark Hughes is the man to carry them forward.
Vic Daniels: 18th - This is the season Stoke City fans come to appreciate just how good Tony Pullis is.
Lewis Doe: 18th - Stoke could find this a very difficult season. They have lost several high profile, experienced players and have only added two players, one a Barcelona B player. Unless Mark Hughes can vary the style of Stoke’s play, they may get a bit predictable and easy to pick off.
Nick Harris: 18th - Tony Pulis was very few people’s cup of tea, but he was effective at Stoke. Trying to establish them as a different side from what went before, whilst ensuring they survive, might be too tricky a balancing act for Mark Hughes.
Mathew Nash: 18th - I don’t understand the logic in sacking Tony Pulis. I think it will be a slog - and at the end of it all they will be relegated, even after possibly changing manager mid-season.
Dan Coombs: 19th - Stoke are a team lacking a bit in identity at present, even doing so in the final months under Tony Pulis. Mark Hughes has a point to prove, but they lack the firepower to make a real impact in the division. Expect a tough season ahead.
Callum Farrell: 19th - To the delight of many neutral fans, I predict Stoke’s stay in the Premier League will end this season. Mark Hughes has tried to gut out much of last year’s team, but still hasn’t got players good enough to stay up.
Vincent Ralph: 19th - I think this could be the season Stoke slip out of the Premier League having for years been a picture of stability. When Mark Hughes was appointed I thought it was great for both parties. And yet limited action in the transfer window, along with the movement of the clubs around them, suggests they are going to struggle…big time.
Where do you think Stoke City will finish ?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald