Stoke City are all to begin their Championship campaign against Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday. The Potters had a forgettable season in the Premier League last term which ended with relegation. Gary Rowett, however, will be looking to turn the tables for Stoke this time and look for a finish in the opposite end of the table.
The Potters have had a busy summer transfer window so far. A couple of stars players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Ramadan Sobhi have left the bet365 Stadium. However, Rowett has made some solid signings in Benik Afobe, Oghenekaro Etebo, Tom Ince and James McClean to bolster the squad.
On the other hand, Leeds United, under the tutelage of Marcelo Bielsa, have picked up their form recently in the pre-season games and are due to host Stoke City on the back of a two-game winning streak.
Rowett has generally gone with a 4-3-3 formation till now and is expected to stick to it. However, his side has lacked the cutting edge in the final third which they would like to better in the coming days. The fixture promises to be a crunch one with both the sides desperate to make a positive start to the season.
Stoke City Team News
Jack Butland returned to training last week and is expected to feature. Erik Pieters is still nursing an injury even though he is expected to recover in time. Meanwhile, Ashley Williams has completed his season-long loan move to Stoke City from Everton.
PREDICTED STOKE CITY LINE-UP TO FACE LEEDS UNITED (4-3-3)
Butland is likely to take his place in goal with a 4-man defensive line in front of him. Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi are set to operate from the central defence. Meanwhile, Moritz Bauer is expected to start in the right-back slot, with Pieters starting on the other side.
Badou Ndiaye is likely to start in central midfield even though there are rumours floating around linking him with an exit. Alongside him, we expect Rowett to pick Joe Allen and Etebo to complete his midfield trio. They will be expected to start on a positive note with each of them looking to nail down their place in the starting eleven.
Afobe is likely to lead the line and we expect him to be flanked by Ince and McClean. Although the attack looks impressive on paper, they need to make their presence felt on the pitch against the Whites.