Premier League preview: Stoke City

09 August 2010 12:25
Infighting made Stoke last season's Premier League equivalent of Red Bull's F1 team.

There was Beattie and a nearly naked Pulis clashing over the Christmas party; Pulis versus his sulking strikers Tuncay and Kitson; and the Whelan-Faye mismatch after Faye limped off five minutes into a 7-0 thrashing at Chelsea with a bad hammy.

All of which inspired the Potters to another comfortable mid-table finish.

The previous year, Fuller and Griffin were scrapping on the pitch and relegation was avoided. This inner harmony is over-rated.

Naked ambition: Stoke's success on the pitch has been tempered by trouble off it

Boss's toughest jobKeeping harmony in the camp. There were a host of bust-ups last season, most notably the James Beattie Christmas party affair. Tony Pulis must restore order.

Hiccup on horizonAlthough it would be unfair to label the team as a one-trick pony, the bionic shoulders of Rory Delap (left) can't last  forever.

He needed painkilling injections last season and, at 34, Stoke might soon be without their grenade launcher.

The numbers game4 - Opening-day games out of six City have won since Tony Pulis has been in charge.

48 - Number of goalscoring attempts that came from throw-ins last season.

6% - The Premier League's lowest percentage.

Alternative sponsorLonsdale - For safer training-ground bust-ups.

Ins/Outs In - Florent Cuvelier (Portsmouth, undisclosed), Carlo Nash (Everton, free)

Out - Steve Simonsen (Sheff Utd, free), Diego Arismendi (Barnsley, loan), IbrahimaSonko (Portsmouth, loan), Andy Griffin (Reading, undisclosed), Louis Moult (Bradford, loan), Amdy Faye (released).

Hot property: Stoke won the chase to sign young star Cuvelier

Keep an eye out forFlorent Cuvelier Age: 17 Position: Midfielder

Promising Belgian Under 19 star snared from Portsmouth from under the noses of  Spurs, Fulham and Man City.

Fan's viewRob Pepper: Anywhere above the relegation places is still a great achievement.

A cup run would be fantastic.


Sportsmail's lowdown on all the Premier League teams  

Source: Daily_Mail

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Last updated : 08:44