A second match in 48 hours will Stoke host a West Brom side who are enduring a patchy run of form.
The Potters’ victory away to Everton saw controversy over the awarding of what proved to be an important penalty, but also put them into touching distance of the top half of the league with only point separating them in 11th and Newcastle in 10th. The win was only Stoke’s third in 10 matches, but there are signs of it turning around with 2 wins in 4 games as well as the recent performances of Bojan.
West Brom’s poor form has coincided with the failure to find the back of the net as talented young striker Berahino finds himself in a goal drought stretching 10 matches where the Baggies have suffered 6 defeats and won only twice. It has also seen them slip back towards the relegation area with only a two-gap after Boxing Day’s defeat to Manchester City.
A late fitness test will be given Stephn Ireland to determine if he is fit enough to be involved, but Sidwell and Moses will miss out for another few weeks.
Late fitness tests will also be handed to Dorrans and Anichebe before Sunday’s match, while Jonas Olsson is unavailable.
Slowly developing into a key player under Mark Hughes’ Stoke team, Bojan’s ability to dribble past his opponents with ease at his best has been crucial during Stoke’s recent good results – overall he has completed 32 dribbles in 13 matches and created 22 chances.
Against Everton on Boxing Day, Bojan won the penalty before dispatching it himself to help win the match with his third goal of the season. Whilst previously in their win over Arsenal, he caused constant havoc to their backline that help his team to win 3-2 with a goal and assist from himself.
During a run of poor form, the experienced players in the squad are important to help keep morale high amongst the younger players whilst also stepping up themselves. Former Premier League Lescott is the standout in the West Brom for this and is still very capable as a defender at this level.
Lescott has made 90 clearances, 25 tackles, 34 interceptions, and 23 blocks – 11 of which were shots – thus far this season.
Known as defensively solid from their time under Tony Pulis, the clean sheet at Goodison Park was their first in 11 matches.
In the last 9 matches, West Brom have only gotten points when they have kept a clean sheet – 3 occasions against Aston Villa (win), Hull (draw), and Leicester (win).
While Stoke’s home form hasn’t been as good this season than the rest of their time in the Premier League, if they can perform to the level of their most recent victories they will have too much for a struggling West Brom.