Stoke City vs Burnley Preview: Visitors look to end adverse form

Stoke City vs Burnley Preview: Visitors look to end adverse form

Stoke City host Burnley on Saturday afternoon, with the visitors hoping to end a poor run of form while the Potters look to continue their upturn in results.

Jordan Eyre

Burnley head to the Potteries to face Stoke City this weekend in a bid to arrest their mini-blip in form and secure a positive result.

The Clarets followed a 4-0 drubbing by West Bromwich Albion with an encouraging performance against Manchester City, but their efforts went without reward as Sergio Aguero’s brace did the damage.

By contrast, Mark Hughes’ men have begun to turn their fortunes around after a woeful start to the season. After losing four of their first five league games, the Potters have lost just one of the eight matches since.

Previous encounters

Since the Premier League’s inception, the Bet365 Stadium has become a poignant place for Burnley.

The Clarets’ first game in the top-flight after ending their 33-year exodus in 2009 came at Stoke in a 2-0 defeat and, in their previous league visit at this level in 2014, Danny Ings’ early brace secured a first away win of that particular season for Sean Dyche’s men.

While Burnley’s squad has changed completely from that opening day loss seven years ago, Stoke still have two players from that match, with Ryan Shawcross – scorer of the game’s first goal – and Glenn Whelan both still at the club.

A reversal of that defeat on Saturday would contribute to a healthy recent run of form against the Potters, with the Clarets losing just three of their past 12 meetings. But it is Hughes’ side who have the better of the head-to-head record, winning 45 of the 106 previous matches in comparison to Burnley’s 37.

Season statistics

Burnley will not wish to be reminded of their poor away form in the league this season, with just the one point accrued on their travels. Their only crumb of consolation may be that they are not alone with such an inferior away record – reigning champions Leicester City, too, have just a solitary point.

Stoke’s patchy home record, however, certainly offers more than a glimmer of hope for the travelling Clarets. Although they have beaten both Sunderland and Swansea City – two sides who, alongside Burnley, are perhaps relegation candidates – the Potters have slipped up against Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth in Staffordshire, shipping nine goals and scoring just one across those three games.

The Clarets’ chances of a win may hinge on whether they can dominate the midfield battle – of all Stoke’s goalscorers this season, only one out-and-out striker – Wilfried Bony – is among a clutch of midfield players to have found the net.

And while Stoke and Burnley are two English clubs with rich histories, this fixture certainly has a Welsh influence. Midfielder Joe Allen has become one of the Potters’ most dangerous attacking threats, and his four goals for the campaign leave him level with his compatriot and Clarets forward Sam Vokes.

Team news

For the visitors, manager Sean Dyche revealed that Dean Marney was the most likely to feature out of the club’s current injured trio, which includes Tom Heaton – rated as touch and go – and winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who is definitely ruled out.

The hosts, meanwhile, could be without skipper Shawcross, who picked up a calf injury ahead of their trip to Watford last weekend. The aforementioned Whelan and Allen are back in contention, however, with the former recovering from his own calf trouble and the latter returning from a one-match ban.

Both clubs also have players who have had a foot in each camp – former Burnley stopper Lee Grant is likely to remain in goal for Stoke, while winger Michael Kightly could be named on the bench and may feature on his return to his old stomping ground.