Stoke City will be aiming to climb up the Premier League table with a win against strugglers Burnley on Saturday.
This should in theory prove to be a routine victory for the home side, however the Potters have yet to record back-to-back wins in this season’s top flight and they will be desperate to put that to rights following the 2-1 win againstTottenham Hotspur in their last outing prior to the international break.
A victory over struggling side Burnley would take them towards a place in the top six, however manager Mark Hughes will be hopeful that the enforced break hasn’t put his side off their stride.
This season’s premier League is proving to be a wide open affair and Stoke’s fifteen points sees them a mere three points behind fourth placed West Ham.
In contrast, Burnley sit rock-bottom of the table and are looking clear favourites for relegation back to the Championship at the first time of asking. They have looked dreadful in front of goal and all talk will be of ‘damage limitation’ prior to the start of the January transfer window when Sean Dyche will be seeking to bolster his squad.
Nevertheless, Burnley’s defeat of Hull City last time out may well prove to be the foundations of a revival in fortunes for the Lancashire club and a second successive victory could see them manage to climb away from the relegation zone should the other teams around them fail to secure points this weekend.
Dyche is in the fortunate position of having few injury concerns in his squad and he will likely feature an unchanged side to that which defeated Hull on their last outing.
Both Phil Bardsley and Marc Wilson were forced off in the last encounter with Tottenham Hotspur, however there are no further absentees and Hughes will be hopeful that both of these players will be ready for action on Saturday, suggesting that an unchanged side will take to the field.
All of Stoke’s last five encounters with the Clarets have involved less than 2.5 goals and there is little to suggest that this won’t be the case this time around, the visitors managing a mere six goals so far this term in all competitions. Stoke’s decent defence will be all but impenetrable, therefore we’ll be backing the hosts to keep a clean sheet this weekend.
Crouch will be the main target man and will pose a huge threat both in the air as well as on the ground, odds of 6/4 for him to score anytime offering good value.
Our betting tips
Stoke win to nil – SkyBet 7/4
Anytime Goalscorer, Peter Crouch – Paddy Power 6/4
Less than 2.5 Goals – BetVictor 5/6