Stoke City host West Brom at the Britannia with both sides looking to kickstart their campaigns with three points following a disappointing start to the season.
Stoke City were outdone by a late Phillipe Coutinho blockbuster on the opening day but they followed it up by a valiant two goal comeback at White Hart Lane. They drew last weekend too at Norwich despite being outplayed by the newly promoted side and will be looking to beat the Baggies on Saturday.
Tony Pulis’ side on the other hand come into this fixture after a brave 3-2 loss against Chelsea having already been beaten by another heavyweight Manchester City on the first Monday night game of the season. Sandwiched between the two was their sole point of the season – a 0-0 draw at Watford.
West Brom are bottom of the fledgling table right now, and Pulis will try to mastermind a win at the club where he has managed for ten years over two stints.
In midweek, Stoke managed to prevail over Luton on penalties to advance to the 3rd round of the League Cup while the Baggies too required a penalty shoot-out to beat Port Vale, despite missing a plethora of chances during normal time and as well as extra time.
Regular starters like Johnson, Cameron, Muniesa, Whelan, Shaqiri, Van Ginkel and Arnautovic should be back in the starting XI having been rested for the League Cup game.
Bojan might be rested as he is yet to return to full fitness following injury while Shawcross and Odemwingie continue to be sidelined.
Chris Brunt picked up an injury in midweek and is a doubt for the trip to the Britannia while Ben Foster continues his recovery from a serious knee injury.
Salomon Rondon is expected to lead the line once more, whereas the pair of Joleon Lescott and Saido Berahino might be left out again in view of their impending moves away from the club.
Stoke City (4-2-3-1): Butland; Pieters, Johnson, Cameron, Muniesa; Arnautovic, Whelan; Shaqiri, Ginkel, Afellay; Diouf
West Brom (4-1-4-1): Myhill; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Brunt; McManaman; Fletcher, Morrison, Yacob, McClean; Rondón
Head to Head:
14/03/15 EPL West Brom 1-0 Stoke
28/12/14 EPL Stoke 2-0 West Brom
11/05/14 EPL West Brom 1-2 Stoke
19/10/13 EPL Stoke 0-0 West Brom
16/03/13 EPL Stoke 0-0 West Brom
- Stoke have kept a clean sheet in their last 3 home matches against West Brom in all competitions.
- Of the 30 matches played in the opening three rounds, only six have resulted in home wins, with more than twice as many going the way of the visitors, while the other 11 have been drawn.
- West Brom’s win at the Britannia in 2012 has been their only win at the ground in the last 30 years.
Stoke City: Xherdan Shaqiri
One of the many transfers that caught the eye this summer was one of the brightest players in a Stoke shirt on his debut last week. The Swiss winger produced a delightful pass accuracy of 97% at Carrow Road. He created two key chances, one of which was a brilliant set-piece delivery. Two think that Stoke had no other shot apart from the goal, and no corner in the entire game speaks volumes about the lack of quality creativity in the side and why Shaqiri is a brilliant coup. He was fouled four times in the game operating in the inside forward position and one can expect him to revive his career, somewhat unexpectedly, in Stoke-on-Trent.
West Brom: James Morrison
The Scottish midfielder comes into this game on the back of two goals against last season’s champions though he missed a penalty which could have changed the complexion of the game. His fine goals gave the Baggies hope as they piled on pressure, ultimately for no avail.
Morrison has averaged an 87.8% passing accuracy in the three opening games of the season which coupled with 2.3 tackles and 2.7 interceptions highlights his importance in the heart of West Brom’s line-up. Though he doesn’t score many, his brace against Chelsea will no doubt boost his confidence and he will have to a good afternoon if his side are to come away with anything from a historically tough fixture.
Stoke’s acquisition of new players continue to gel and eek out a narrow 2-1 win.