West Brom – Stoke. Artur Petrosyan’s prediction
Moscow-based journalist who has worked as the editor-in-chief of the Russian leading sports media Sport Express and contributed to the Guardian, the New York Times and other top media Artur Petrosyan is giving his view on the upcoming English Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Stoke.
It took time for Stoke to really get going. Their first league win happened only in the last game of September. Since then they only lost twice in 13 matches. Even more impressive is the fact who they’ve beaten during this time – Chelsea, Man City, Man United on Boxing Day and Everton away two days later in a real seven-goal thriller.
Mark Hughes opted to name the same starting XI in those fixtures, and that is something to take notice of. Marko Arnautovic, arguably the best Premier League player in December, had problems with his hamstring. Bojan and Shaqiri, both who had a great month as well, felt tired during the game and were substituted. In other words most of Stoke’s influential players need rest in this crazy run of fixtures and there’s not much doubt Hughes will pick the West Brom game as the one to rotate. He surely needs his best guns fresh and ready for the big League Cup semifinal clash on Tuesday – Liverpool at home. It’s virtually the easiest way to get a pass to Europe, so not just the club, but the players will want to make sure they’re 100-percent ready for Tuesday.
That is something which might play in West Brom’s favour. Tony Pulis just had his first win in six (vs Newcastle 1-0) and will want to continue the trend against his former club. They had 8 shots (4 on target) and 17 corners in the game against Steve McClaren’s side, so I think they’ll put similar pressure on Stoke who’ll most probably choose to sit back. Yes, Newcastle are struggling, but it often doesn’t matter who you beat, it brings you confidence for following games anyway. It’s also the time to expect from Saido Berahino to show everyone what he can do.
So I’d go for West Brom double chance, draw no bet or simply a win there if you prefer more risk and also Stoke scoring one goal maximum. Choose what you like.
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