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Preview: We take a closer look at AFC Bournemouth's next opponents Stoke City

Posted: Fri 12 Feb 2016
Author: afcb.co.uk

The latest visitors to Vitality Stadium are Stoke City, so we take a closer look at the Potters ahead of their Barclays Premier League clash with AFC Bournemouth.

Nickname: The Potters
Manager: Mark Hughes
Captain: Ryan Shawcross
Ground: Britannia Stadium
Capacity: 27,902
2014-15: 9th
Current Position: 11th
Form: DLWLLL

So Far This Season
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After a tricky start, Stoke progressed well over the opening few months of the season to cement a mid-table position.

Throughout November and December the Potters continued to develop, picking up the scalps of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United at the Brittania, before concluding the year with a dramatic late win at Everton.

2016 has been mixed for the Potters in the league, with just one win from their six Barclays Premier League games this year, coming at home to Norwich.

Away from the league, Stoke enjoyed a fine run in the Capital One Cup making it all the way to the semi-finals only to be defeated in heartbreaking fashion by Liverpool on penalties at Anfield.

The Manager
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Mark Hughes has enjoyed a successful time at the Britannia since taking over as manager in the summer of 2013. After successive 9th placed finishes, this season has seen Stoke and Hughes win many admirers.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Hughes reflected on the Cherries' season so far:

"It’s always hard when you come up as a promoted team. It’s not easy to stay in the Premier League; the first year is always the important one.

"If they (Bournemouth) do survive, there’s no reason they can’t because they are decent, then it will be a good season for them."

Last Time Out
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After away defeats in the Emirates FA Cup and Barclays Premier League to Crystal Palace and Manchester United respectively, Stoke were looking to return to winning ways in the league against fellow Capital One Cup semi-finalists Everton.

However, Everton were at their best on the day and soon led through a Romelu Lukaku penalty after just 11 minutes.

Seamus Coleman doubled Everton’s lead just before the half hour mark with a fine header from a corner.

The game was over as a contest before half-time as Aaron Lennon seized on a sloppy pass at the back, raced clear and slotted home past Jack Butland to make it a miserably afternoon in the rain for Mark Hughes’ side.

Star Player
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Providing the main source of creativity to the Stoke side is Bojan. The forward committed his future to the club this week, signing a new four-and-a-half year deal.

The one time Spain international joined the Potters at the start of last season and having seen his debut campaign in England cut short after suffering a knee injury in January, he has taken his performances to a new level this time around.

Bojan is a product of the famous La Masia Barcelona academy, but after losing his spot in the first team squad and a two-year spell at Roma, the 25-year-old has many fans at the Staffordshire club.

Alongside Marco Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri, he has helped Stoke pull off some great results this season and will be looking to add to his five Premier League goals between now and the end of the season.

Fun Facts 
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• Founded in 1863 as Stoke Ramblers F.C., the club is the second oldest club in English football. Only Notts County, who were founded a year earlier, are older than the Potters.
• Of the current Premier League teams, Stoke’s eight-season spell is the 7th longest on-going period in the top-flight.
• Stoke’s highest ever league finish is 4th. They achieved this in the 1935/36 and 1946/47 seasons.
• Stoke have hosted four England international matches, although the most recent game was back in November 1936.

Possible starting XI

Butland; Johnson, Muniesa, Wollscheid, Pieters; Whelan, Imbula; Shaqiri, Bojan, Arnautovic; Joselu