Stoke Vs West Brom Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Players

Stoke Vs West Brom Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Players

On October 19th, West Brom travel to the Britannia to take on Stoke City in an early season mid-table clash.  The two teams are going in opposite directions with Stoke losing their last three league matches and with West Brom getting seven points out of their last three games.   After West Brom started poorly and Stoke started well, the teams have switched roles with Stoke going on a poor run and West Brom playing well taking four points from Manchester United away and Arsenal at home.

Stoke have struggled for goals, they have only scored two in their last five league games, while West Brom have scored in every game since the close of the transfer window.

Stoke City Vs West Brom Preview

Team News

Stoke City are almost injury free whilst West Brom are dealing with a couple different injuries.  Stoke’s only injury is to striker and penalty taker Jon Walters who may miss the match with a groin injury picked up shortly before the international break.  West Brom are dealing with injuries to multiple first team players.  Zolton Gera is out with a long term injury as is starting goalkeeper Ben Foster who will be out until late November.  Victor Anichebe, Scott Sinclair, Matej Vydra and George Thorne all stand a decent chance to play but will be assessed before the game.

This week, the Stoke City Chairman, Peter Coates has said that he believes that it is only a matter of time until they lose their star goalkeeper, Asmir Begovic, and that they will not stand in his way if he wishes to leave.  At West Brom, people are wondering whether the Baggies can make the signing of loan sensation, Morgan Amalfitano, permanent and if they wish to do so how much it will cost them.  As it has been an international break, news has been slow and early transfer rumours tend to start during these times because there is nothing else to talk about and it is difficult to asses how seriously you should take stories like these.

Interesting Facts

So far this season, Stoke have scored the less goals than anyone else in the Premier League having only registered four goals this season.  Stoke have not beaten West Brom at the Britannia since November 2008.  In the last five meetings, the games have all been close with each game ending in either a draw or a one goal win.  The teams had never played each other in the Premier League until the 2008/2009 season.  Morgan Amalfitano is the only player on either team this season to score multiple Premier League goals.  The all time record between the two teams at Stoke has been 35 Stoke wins, 10 West Brom wins and 20 draws.

Key Players

Two players that could have big impacts on the game are wide-men Marco Arnautovic and Morgan Amalfitano.  Both arrived at their respective clubs this summer.

Marco Arnautovic arrived at Stoke from Werder Bremen for £2m this summer on transfer deadline day.  Arnautovic has had some tough times in his career not because of a lack of talent but because he is a bit of a head case.  Arnautovic fits the Stoke mould for a player physically being 6’3 but provides technical ability out wide.  Stoke have been criticised as a long ball team in the past and Mark Hughes has tried to change that this season.  With Arnautovic, Stoke get a player that, instead of just staying wide and hoofing, will cross the ball and he can take the ball inside and take defenders on. Arnautovic has been successful on six of his thirteen attempted dribbles this season.  Arnautovic has also completed 84% of his passes this season with Stoke, better than any other wide player on the team, with at least 15 passes.  While Stoke are trying to evolve to play more of the game on the ground, crossing is a big part of Stoke’s game because of those big centre forwards, and Arnautovic has done well in that department completing 33% of his crosses, second on the team behind only Matthew Etherington.  Arnautovic has struggled to provide some needed creativity and has yet to create a chance even though he has been getting crosses in and beating defenders.  Arnautovic will hope to score his first goal or at least create his first chance for Stoke against West Brom.

Morgan Amalfitano joined West Brom on loan this season from the French club Marseille.  Amalfitano made 85 appearances in only two seasons with Marseille and in his term with Marseille he won the Coupe de la Ligue and the Trophee des Champions as well as playing in the Champions League in 2011/2012 and the Europa League in 2012/2013.  Amalfitano has added that touch of class to the Baggies and has really produced since arriving.  Amalfitano has not only bagged two goals and gotten two assists but has also been creating a chance every 26 minutes.  Amalfitano has been able to provide service for the strikers completing 33% of his crosses. He also has the ability to unlock Stoke’s strong defence and will try to add to both his goal and assist tally.

Prediction

Despite how badly Stoke have played recently, this should be a close game.  West Brom are yet to lose on the road this season and will hope to keep that run going. Stoke are trying to adjust to the playing style of Mark Hughes and have seriously struggled doing it.  While they are at home, it will be tough for Stoke to grab the three points in this game.  I predict a 1-1 draw but could also see West Brom grabbing a win.