Stoke’s climb up the table seems to be showing no signs of letting up as of late. Mark Hughes men sit 11th going into this weekend and they will look to move into the top half when they play host to Burnley at The Bet 365 Stadium this Afternoon.
Last Sunday saw them go to Vicarage Road and come away with all three points thanks to a comical Huerelho Gomes Own Goal. Although there was an element of fortune to the goal it’s fair to say Stoke were the better side and handed Watford a first home defeat since August.
That win for Stoke means that their current form is just one defeat in their last eight matches. When you compare that to their first five matches it’s almost as if you are looking at two completely different Stoke sides such is the turnaround in results.
Early on it was not enough goals at one end and far too many at the other. Although they aren’t necessarily hitting the net with blistering regularity they have shut the shop which was almost a charity at one point. They’ve conceded just three in their last 6 matches.
And they will look to shut out a Burnley sides this afternoon who have suffered successive defeats. Those defeats have seen Sean Dyche’s men slip to 13th but on the whole Clarets fans can’t have all that many complaints after one third of the season is complete.
They were perhaps unfortunate to not get anything of their home encounter with Manchester City last week. After going ahead thanks to a Dean Marney cracker early on they were masters of their downfall as two sloppy goals allowed Sergio Aguero to sneak in and bag a brace which gave Pep Guardiola’s side all three points.
Sean Dyche was aggrieved after the game as he felt that his side should have had a penalty which could have sen them level at 2-2. To be fair he did have quite the case but unfortunately for Dyche they are the breaks at this level and he should probably worry more about his sides defending in the build up to City’s winner.
That game saw Paul Robinson make a return to top flight football for the first time since 2012. It was a welcome return for the former England international and there is every chance he could feature again with Tom Heaton still ‘touch and go’ in regards to fitness.
The combined average of goals scored between these two sides stands at 1 per game so that doesn’t particularly point to a high scoring affair. I think with home advantage and their current run of form I think Stoke will just nick this, I’ll go for a 1-0 win.