Writer: Jamie Chapman
Date:Thursday October 3 2013
Stoke City travel to Craven Cottage in a fixture where the pressure is on both managers to pick up a result. Martin Jol`s Fulham have had a woeful start to the season and in truth should be putting more chances away with strikers like Darren Bent and Dimitar Berbatov at their disposal. For Stoke City, the crash back down to earth has been painful. Having picked up 7 points in their first 4 games, the Potters have now failed to secure any points in their last two games, with only one goal scored in their last three.
Last weekend Fulham were stung by a last-minute Cardiff City winner at Craven Cottage whilst Stoke were abysmal against a desperate Norwich. Saturday`s fixture could shape both of these team`s seasons. If Fulham win then they find themselves on 7 points, level with Stoke and the mini-crisis at Craven Cottage is averted, dragging Stoke down the table at the same time. If Stoke City win it would get the fans back on board and break them into double figures for the season.
Stoke City fans were enjoying life under Mark Hughes until the last 2 games. The atmosphere at the Manchester City game was unbelievable and the fluidity of the play was fantastic to watch. Against Arsenal, Stoke again dominated but firstly, failed to take their chances (same old story) and secondly conceded three goals because of schoolboy defending. In a way, that`s why a lot of fans were sad to see Pulis leave. He was safe, we would go away from home and whilst it would be a boring game to watch we`d grab a lot of draws and a few wins here and there. Under Mark Hughes we have entered the unknown and the fans are scared, the atmosphere at the Britannia last week showed that. Stoke City need a good performance on Saturday, or failing that a scrappy 1- 0 would do, the point is they need their spirits lifting.
Mark Hughes goes into this game with an added incentive and he`ll obviously want to get one over on his old employers. Hughes left Fulham after stating he wanted to go to a bigger club (he`s achieved that) and I`m sure that he`ll receive a hostile reception on Saturday.
Last season the fixture ended 1-0 to Fulham after a Dimitar Berbatov volley and a Jonny Walters penalty miss. Fulham are relatively unchanged since then with Schwarzer departing and Darren Bent and Adel Taarabt arriving. I believe that if Taarabt starts on Saturday then it will play a huge role in who comes out of this game with the points. There were rumours that Taarabt was being eyed up by Stoke City before his move to Fulham and I`m personally glad that we missed out on him. He`s a luxury player. He can win you games but nine times out of ten he will be a liability and allow teams to dominate the midfield. He`s lazy with a world class moment or two in his locker.
Brek Shea could make his return to first team action.
Lazy with a touch of class. Impossible to know which Berbatov will turn up on Saturday.
No major injuries for Fulham.
He has had two absolutely shocking games but I`m tipping him to bounce back and lead the way from the back with a solid performance.
Both teams are goal shy with only 4 goals scored each
Stoke City have created 45 chances all season, compared to Fulham`s 35
Both teams have an average pass length of 20 metres
Fulham have made an average of 55 defensive actions per game. Stoke City have only had to make an average of 41 per game.
Stats courtesy of Squawka.
Our editor Lloyd Reddin provided a look at this week`s ref... http://www.stoke.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=334102
Am I ever going to tip City to lose a match? I`m too optimistic but so far this season we`ve looked good on the road when attacking and we just have to hope that Darren Bent and Dimitar Berbatov don`t bring their shooting boots. 2-1 to the Potters.
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Date:Thursday October 3 2013
Walters suspended for Hull clash (Wednesday December 11 2013)
Ref Watch: Dean to officiate Hull v Stoke (Monday December 9 2013)
Wilson wins Cardiff man of the match poll (Sunday December 8 2013)
Stoke draw Leicester in the F.A. Cup 3rd Round (Sunday December 8 2013)
Super sub Assaidi stuns Chelsea (Sunday December 8 2013)
Stats: Stoke City v Chelsea (Sunday December 8 2013)
Stoke host high flying Chelsea (Friday December 6 2013)
Begovic wins Everton man of the match poll (Friday December 6 2013)
Ref Watch: Moss to officiate Stoke v Chelsea (Friday December 6 2013)
Stats: Stoke City v Cardiff City (Friday December 6 2013)
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|12. Hull City||15||5||3||7||-6||18|
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