Can Stoke get off the mark with a win at Crystal Palace? Will Dyer (@w2Dyer) analyses the odds for Sunday’s showdown.
Crystal Palace v Stoke City | Sunday 14:15 | Sky Sports 1
Much of the focus in this tie will be on both clubs’ new powerhouse strikers. The arrivals of Wilfried Bony at the Britannia (Sorry 365) and Christian Benteke at Selhurst Park promise much for these teams.
It’s been well documented that Benteke was never fancied to fit in Liverpool’s system due to the lack of width and crossing in their game, Crystal Palace are the polar opposite to that and so it was no surprise to see him get off the mark straight away at Middlesbrough last weekend.
Palace are unbeaten in six games in all competitions against Stoke and have won each of the last three Premier League meetings, all by a 2-1 score-line. Bet365 go 17/2 on that trend continuing with another 2-1 victory for the Eagles.
Stoke have had a bad start to the season. The Potters have though had a tough fixture list, home games against Tottenham and Manchester City, last season’s third and fourth-place finishers and away games at Everton – who’ve made their best start to a Premier League season in 10 years – and Middlesbrough, who are exceptionally tough at the Riverside under Aitor Karanka.
Just one point from those four games is still obviously a little disappointing and conceding four goals in back-to-back home games is unacceptable.
Mark Hughes looks under a bit of pressure to me. They are giving up a lot of chances to the opposition; a total of 65 attempts on their goal across those four fixtures. That puts them at the bottom of the pile.
Despite all of this gloom I have a feeling they’ll find their form at Selhurst. Palace have been dreadful at home in 2016, posting a W2-D2-L7 record.
One of those Premier League wins did come against Stoke but it was their last home game of the season and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Stoke were perhaps “already on the beach” with a guaranteed top-half finish.
I keep coming back to Palace’s record in 2016. Sure Benteke should see an increase in goals but the loss of Yannick Bolasie is a negative for them this season. Andros Townsend is a decent replacement but you only had to watch Bolasie at the Stadium of Light on Monday night to see what he brings to the table.
Yohan Cabaye misses out with a groin injury too. However, Stoke are probably worse off in the injuries department with Jack Butland, Mame Diouf, Xherdan Shaqiri and Ibrahim Afellay all sidelined.
All told I think almost even-money is too short on a home win and that therefore puts the value on Stoke.
Bony has scored two goals in four games against Crystal Palace and has never lost to them, winning two and drawing two.
The Potters are a well-established mid-table team these days. Palace might have finished 10th and 11th in their first two seasons back in the big time but 15th last season is an indication of what’s to come in my opinion.
Compare that to Stoke who’ve concluded ninth three seasons in a row now and never outside the top 14 since coming up in 2008/09. I’m banking of things reverting to past form this weekend.