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Bournemouth vs Stoke – Match Preview

Bournemouth have no new injury problems ahead of the visit of Stoke.

Tommy Elphick is still building up fitness ahead of a league return while Max Gradel, who has been out since August with a knee injury, returned to training this week.

Stoke’s Jonathan Walters could return from the virus which kept him out of last weekend’s defeat by Everton.

Captain Ryan Shawcross is nearing full fitness after a back injury but this game will come too early.

Editor’s Note: Had it not been for a period of 88 Seconds or so then Bournemouth would have came away with at least a point in their encounter with Arsenal last Sunday. As it stood they came away empty handed but that’s the difference between going for the title and a team battling to beat the drop. This Afternoon they play host to a Stoke side who have been leaking Goals at the back.

Since Ryan Shawcross’ injury Stoke have lost their last 3 matches 3-0, defeats to Leicester, Manchester United and Everton have really halted their momentum as of late and Mark Hughes now finds his side in the bottom half of the table. They’ve not won in 4 matches and will be looking to return to winning ways at The Vitality Stadium.

They’ll face a Bournemouth side who find themselves currently 15th in the Premier League and 5 points clear off the drop zone. Eddie Howe knows his side still have some work to do to make sure they aren’t just in the top flight for just a debut season.

It will take probably 12 points for them to secure survival and with the signing of Benik Afobe they certainly have done themselves no harm in getting to that magic 40 point marker. Afobe failed to score against his first club Arsenal on Sunday but he had scored 3 in 3 before that to give The Cherries a small buffer between them and the bottom 3.

As for Stoke they’ve forgotten what it’s like to score as of late, with no Goals in their last 4 matches it must be a bit of a worry for Mark Hughes. What must be more of a worry is the fact they have shipped 9 Goals in their last 3 outings. Disaster for all FPL Managers who opted for Jack Butland in their side. For Mark Hughes and FPL players around the world I bet Ryan Shawcross can’t return soon enough.

It looks like Today’s encounter will be just too soon for Shawcross so Bournemouth will no doubt fancy their chances of capitalising on his absence. With Stoke acting like a sieve at the back as of late, without their Captain Shawcross I see no reason why the situation will change so fancy Benik Afobe to get on the scoresheet.

I think Bournemouth will move  a step closer to Premier League survival with a win this Afternoon, while Stoke will extend their run without a win to 5 matches. A good day for Eddie Howe but not for Mark Hughes. A home win for me.

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