Mark Hughes’ inconsistent Stoke City will host Eddie Howe’s struggling Bournemouth in what could be an important bottom of the table clash at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday evening.
It hasn’t really been the best of starts for either of the sides this season, with the Cherries languishing in the bottom three and the men in red and white currently 16th in the table, with just eight points in the bag so far.
Bournemouth were unbeaten against the Potters last season, grabbing a 1-0 win away from home and drawing 2-2 at the Vitality Stadium late in the campaign in what was an entertaining encounter.
Stoke look to propel up the table
The start to the season hasn’t been the best one for Hughes’ men, who signed a host of quality players this past summer but the performances haven’t lived upto the hype that surrounded the new signings when the campaign started. And their current league position is enough to suggest that.
They have won only a single game in their last six league outings, losing three and drawing two. The last time they won a game was back on the 30th of September against Mauricio Pellegrino’s Southampton, when a late Peter Crouch proved enough for the club to win all three points for the first time since their win over Arsenal early in the season.
They have the worst defensive record in the league so far this season, letting in 18 times, just as much as bottom strugglers Crystal Palace. In terms of goal-getting, they are the 11th best in the division, scoring nine goals in the season.
The likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Peter Crouch and summer signing Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting have scored two goals each.
Bournemouth look to get season back on track
Bournemouth, who surprised many by finishing in the upper half of the table last season, haven’t enjoyed a good start at all this season. They currently have just four points in the bag, thanks to a win over Brighton and a draw against Leicester three weeks ago. Apart from that, it has been a story of disappointment.
They nearly got a surprise point from their trip to Wembley against Tottenham, but had themselves to blame for missing a couple of golden opportunities to equalise after Christian Eriksen had handed Spurs a lead in the second half. They haven’t won a single game since mid-September but will have a chance to redeem themselves on Saturday afternoon at Staffordshire.
They have the second worst attack in the division, after Crystal Palace and have scored just four goals throughout the ongoing campaign. In terms of conceding, they have let in only 12 goals, the seventh worst defensive record in the league.
While their struggles in front of goal have been real, one goal each by Harry Surman, Jermain Defoe, Charlie Daniels and Josh King scoring one goal each.
No fresh injuries for either sides
None of the two sides have new injury problems to address, as they still have only the slightly long-term absentees on the nursing table. Bournemouth still have Callum Wilson, Adam Federici, Brad Smith and defender Tyrone Mings out.
As far as Stoke go, the duo of Stephen Ireland and Ryan Shawcross remain out due to their respective injury problems.
Stoke City: Butland; Edwards, Martins-Indi, Zouma, Pieters; Diouf, Fletcher, Cameron, Choupo-Moting; Shaqiri, Jese
Bournemouth: Begovic; Francis, Cook, Ake; Smith, Cook, Surman, Arter, Daniels; King, Defoe