MATCH PREVIEW: Stoke City v Bournemouth
Stoke City arrive back at the Bet 365 Stadium on the back of six games unbeaten in the league. A late goal courtesy of the right foot of Bojan Krkic saved a draw against West Ham at the London Stadium last time out.
The Potters welcome Bournemouth to Staffordshire on Saturday, who have had a tough time of it in recent weeks. The cherries gave league strugglers Sunderland their first win of the season after a disappointing loss to Middlesbrough the week before.
Taking Stoke’s poor start to the season and Bournemouth’s recent troubles into consideration has meant that the two clubs find themselves in similar situations – 12th and 13th to be exact. A win for either side could rocket them into the top half of the table.
Kick Off: Saturday @ 15:00
Odds (as of 12:00 Friday): Stoke – 13/10. Draw – 5/2. Bournemouth – 5/2.
Last Time Out: Bournemouth 1 Stoke City 3
Bournemouth started the season as one of the teams to watch, a midfield that contained the likes of Jack Wilshere and Harry Arter were causing a stir under the measured leadership of ‘future England manager’ Eddie Howe. In recent weeks’ things may have turned a little sour but as the international break came at the wrong time for the Potters, it definitely came at the right time for the Cherries. Eddie Howe has had time to work with his squad and Bournemouth fans will be hoping that time will have been long enough to sort any defensive frailties that have crept into their game.
Glenn Whelan is doubtful for Stoke after injuring his hamstring on international duty, while Geoff Cameron remains out with a knee problem.
However, Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri return after missing the draw with West Ham because of suspension and injury respectively.
Bournemouth may make late decisions on Callum Wilson and Andrew Surman, who are recovering from hamstring problems.
Adam Smith serves a one-game ban after accumulating five yellow cards.
Ones to watch
A lot of Stokies will be talking about Arsenal man Jack Wilshere when they head to the Bet 365 this weekend but there are a couple of other names that it might be an idea to keep an eye on.
Callum Wilson suffered a knee ligament injury when he visited the Brit last term and although he has recently come out to say that he won’t be treating this game any differently, it might be a game in which he is looking to get revenge.
Eddie Howe has also praised Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc for his recent performances in nets, despite the fact that Bournemouth haven’t been able to keep a clean sheet in their last 10 away games.
The Potter’s goalkeeper has also been in the news this week as rumors heat up about a permanent deal for the veteran ‘keeper when January comes around. Jack Butland returned to training this week and showered praise on the Derby man. Mark Hughes revealed that Jack Butland’s return to the first team, once he is fully fit, won’t be a formality. Bojan might be hoping that he gets a start following his goal against the Hammers and Whelan and Cameron likely to miss out through injury. If that was the route taken it might be expected that Allen drops back to join Adam in holding midfield giving Bojan to roam around Bony.
Ben Cartwright: 3-0
Tom: Imbula will wear gloves.
Written by @bajcartwright. Let me know your predictions for the game on Twitter.
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