Stoke City (0-3-3, 3 points) will face-off against the newly promoted squad Bournemouth (2-3-1, 7 points) in week 7 of the Premier League, meeting at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, September 26th. Mark Hughes’ men forced a hard-fought 2-2 draw against top team Leicester City also at home at the Britannia Stadium last Saturday.
The Potters gave the mighty Foxes a scare in the first half as forwards Bojan Krkić and Jonathan Walters scored a goal apiece at the 13th and 20th-minute to move up 2-0 at half-time. However, they succumbed to Leicester’s relentless attacks in the second half as big names Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy scored two goals to negotiate a draw.
Meanwhile, newly-promoted club Bournemouth had an impressive performance against hard-luck team Sunderland, 2-0, at the Vitality Stadium also last Saturday. Striker Callum Wilson and winger Matt Ritchie provided the goals in the first nine minutes of play, thereby leading to a well-deserved victory.
Hughes will be pleased that he has both Charlie Adam and Ibrahim Afellay back from suspension, with both players pushing for a starting place. Biram Diouf could make a late push to start up top, but if not striking duties will fall to either Jon Walters or Peter Crouch.
Given Bournemouth’s commanding win over Sunderland last time out, it is unlikely that Howe will make any changes to his starting XI. Sylvain Distin and Steve Cook are expected to continue in the heart of defence following the absence of skipper Tommy Elphick. Eunane O Kane will be hoping to give his manager something to think about as he seeks to usurp Dan Gosling in the middle of the park.
- Callum Wilson has scored five goals in the Barclays Premier League this season, despite only attempting eight shots (excluding blocked).
- Wilson has touched the ball in the opposition box on 45 occasions this season. Only Alexis Sanchez (46) has more.
- Only Manchester City (11) and Southampton (13) have allowed their opponents fewer shots on target than AFC Bournemouth (17) in the BPL after the opening six matchweeks of 2015/16.
- Stoke City have made a league-low 79 touches in the opposition box this season after six matches.
- 11 of Jonathan Walters’ 13 Premier League goals since the start of 2014 have come at the Britannia Stadium.
- Bournemouth have covered more ground than any other Premier League team after six matches so far this season (697km).
- Callum Wilson has scored five goals in the Premier League this season, despite only attempting eight shots (excl. blocked).
- Only Man City (11) and Southampton (13) have allowed their opponents fewer shots on target than Bournemouth (17) in the Premier League after the opening six matchdays of 2015-16.
- Chelsea (40) are the only side to have allowed their opponents more shots on target than Stoke (39) in the Premier League so far this season.
LEAGUE HEAD TO HEAD
26 Jan 2003 Stoke City v AFC Bournemouth 3-0 FA Cup
02 Feb 2002 AFC Bournemouth v Stoke City 3-1 League Division 2
29 Sep 2001 Stoke City v AFC Bournemouth 2-0 League Division 2
17 Apr 2001 AFC Bournemouth v Stoke City 1-0 League Division 2
28 Oct 2000 Stoke City v AFC Bournemouth 2-1 League Division 2
22 Apr 2000 Stoke City v AFC Bournemouth 1-0 League Division 2
STOKE CITY: BOJAN KRKIC
Former Barcelona player Bojan came off the bench in the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday, the first time he has featured for the Potters since rupturing a knee ligament in January and says he is fully fit and raring to go. His return could be just what Hughes’ side need ahead of a run of fixtures where, still searching for that crucial first win of the season, they take on the likes of Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Swansea, Watford and fellow strugglers Newcastle United.
BOURNEMOUTH: CALLUM WILSON
What will be even more pleasing is just how impressively Callum Wilson has adjusted to life at the top. The frontman has scored five already despite only registering eight shots at goal. To partner some solid attacking work, Bournemouth have also produced some standout collective displays to earn wins against West Ham United and Sunderland. As it stands, only Manchester City and Southampton have allowed their opponents fewer shots on target than the Cherries.
Stoke have won their last four home matches against Bournemouth in all competitions and they should finally be able to pick up a Premier League win with victory over Howe’s side on Saturday. The visitors have the ability to cause numerous problems, but Stoke have adequate quality too and should be able to make it count in front of a hostile Britannia faithful. Hence, I predict a 2-1 victory to Stoke City.