Mark Hughes’ men host Burnley tomorrow at the bet365 Stadium where The Potters really need to win ahead of a tough schedule over December.
Stoke City vs Burnley
Date: Saturday 3rd December 2016
Venue: bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-trent
Competition: Premier League
Referee: Mr Mark Clattenburg
Last time they met: Burnley 0-0 Stoke
Latest betting odds (bet365):
Our prediction: Stoke to win, and BTTS: 13/5
Long-shot: Giannelli Imbula to score anytime, and The Potters to win 3-1 – 35/1
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After last week’s tactical masterclass at Watford, Mark Hughes faces a serious selection dilemma ahead of the visit of Burnley tomorrow afternoon.
The Potters welcome back Glenn Whelan and Joe Allen to the side, whilst Ryan Shawcross is set to again miss the game with a calf injury. The fact that Allen is available tomorrow will pose a huge headache for Hughes, as it would be extremely harsh to drop either Charlie Adam, or Giannelli Imbula after both performed tremendously last week.
Hughes will also be pondering whether to stick with his three at the back formation that worked so well for Stoke, or revert back to the usual four across the back-line.
Stoke have won four of their last six Premier League games, and could potentially reach as high as seventh, should they record a victory tomorrow.
What the manager has said:
MH: “[Burnley] seem to have more of a problem away from home, which is understandable. It is difficult to pick up away points, and we have experienced that.
“It was initially a struggle for us when I first came here but we are more adept at going on the road and picking up good results now.
“It can be difficult when you fall behind away from home, and maybe that has been the issue for them.”
Stoke City Predicted XI:
Grant; Johnson, Martins Indi, Muniesa; Diouf, Allen, Imbula, Pieters; Shaqiri, Arnautovic, Bony.
MATCH FACTS [BBC SPORT]:
- Burnley won 2-1 on their last Premier League visit to Stoke in November 2014 – it was their first away victory that season, ending a five-match winless run.
- The Clarets have gone three league games without defeat against the Potters (W1, D2).
- Stoke have only lost one of their last eight league matches (W4, D3).
- Only Chelsea (21), Liverpool (20) and Arsenal (18) have won more points across their last eight games than Stoke (15).
- The Potters have conceded just five goals in those last eight matches, after conceding 18 goals in the eight games prior to that.
- They have conceded nine goals from set pieces this season – only Crystal Palace (12) and Hull (10) have let in more.
- Burnley have picked up just one point in five league games away from home this season, scoring one goal and conceding 13.
- They have failed to score in nine of their last 14 Premier League away matches.
- The Clarets have scored five goals from outside the penalty area in the Premier League this campaign, a joint-high with Liverpool.
- Sean Dyche’s side have attempted a league-low 109 shots this season, while they have allowed their opponents a league-high 262 attempts.
It’s been a steady start to the campaign for The Clarets. They head into tomorrow’s clash sitting in 13th place, with 14 points, something which any Burnley fan would have snapped your hands off with if you’d have offered it them at the start of the campaign.
There is cause for concern, however, for Sean Dyche. His Burnley side are statistically the worst away side in the Premier League, having lost all but one of their away fixtures this season, scoring just one, and conceding 13 in the process.
It will be an important game for Burnley tomorrow for the simple fact that they don’t want to get sucked into any potential relegation battle, and will feel that Stoke are particularly vulnerable at home these days.
Burnley will be desperate for Tom Heaton to shake off a calf injury, whilst Dean Marney will face a late fitness test for the trip.
Sam Vokes will be keen to get back to scoring ways, with Andre Gray desperate to reclaim his place in the starting XI.
What the manager has said:
SD: “It’s been a strange conundrum, I’ve never had it as obviously so it’s hard for me to judge whether it’s the fact it’s the Premier League and everyone talks about home form in the Premier League, needing to be strong no matter who you are, so there’s some very strong home teams.
“Then it has to be balanced out after by how are we performing, and I don’t think we’ve performed to the levels we know we can.”
Burnley Predicted XI:
Heaton; Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward; Arfield, Defour, Marney, Hendrick, Boyd, Vokes.