Class of 2015-16: Attackers
In the final part of our look back at the Class of 2015-16, we review Stoke’s attacking department.
Just 41 goals in 38 league matches was a poor return, with Stoke grateful for Marko Arnautovic’s excellent scoring return over the campaign.
Here’s how we rate the lads up top.
Marko Arnautovic: A
There have been some moments of pure quality from Arnautovic this season. Sadly his best campaign for Stoke might be his last one…hopefully he signs a contract soon!
Xherdan Shaqiri: B-
Room for improvement for Shaqiri after a mixed debut campaign. Glimpses of class have been overshadowed by inconsistency. Hopefully a good Euro 2016 will increase his confidence ahead of next season.
Mame Biram Diouf: B-
It’s been a tough season for Diouf, notably due to the tragic death of his mother. His off-field news clearly affected the striker, but he always tries his heart out on the pitch and scored the final goal of the season with that bullet header against West Ham.
Jonathan Walters: B
Often written off, Walters keeps on hitting back. Some excellent goals have topped off a decent season for the man that Ireland hope will be their top boy in France this summer.
It was a joy to see Bojan return from injury and whilst he’s not quite been up to the form of the previous season, his scoring record has been excellent. With a full pre-season under his belt he’s only likely to improve next season.
Needs more opportunities to stake a claim to be the number one striker, but has shown good signs during his first season in England. Seems to be a well liked member of the squad too.
Peter Crouch: C+
Not so much a secret weapon, but certainly a different option. Crouch’s finest moment of the season came in the Capital One Cup semi-final, putting in a magnificent display against his old side Liverpool.
Peter Odemwingie: D
Sadly failed to recover sufficiently from his knee injury to play at the highest level despite his best efforts. His infectious personality will be missed, but his influence on the pitch wasn’t good enough this season.
And, finally, what about the manager?
Mark Hughes: B-
After a slow start, Hughes set up the possibility of making history. Magnificent tactics in December brought memorable victories against both Manchester clubs, but the failure to freshen things up ahead of the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg saw us lethargic in a huge match. Our eventual defeat on penalties in that tie killed the players and whilst they bounced back admirably, the motivation hasn’t quite been there in the final weeks of the campaign. Hughes has been an excellent manager for Stoke and I’m sure he’ll be aiming for the next step next season: a cup and a potential charge towards Europe.
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