WBA-MAD Preview: Stoke vs Albion
Joseph Chapman previews Albion's trip to Staffordshire.
Dean Whitehead doesn't score many, but when he does, they count. Stoke have only managed one win on the road since January 2012, coming in December against the team they wish they 'could play every week': West Brom. Whitehead's late strike in the reverse fixture restored the traditional outcome whenever these two teams meet, following the anomaly of Albion's 2-1 win at the Britannia last January.
Things are different at the moment for Stoke, though. They don't even have their famous home record to fall back on of late, losing 7 of their last 9 in the Premier League, taking 4 points and scoring 6 goals. Expect that to change in the not-too-distant future.
Albion have recovered in recent weeks after a mid season slump which, incidentally, began around the same time as the Potters' Hawthorns victory. They have won three of their last 4, have well and truly put the infamous 'Peter Odemwingie saga' behind them and are looking to finish the season in a strong vein, in preparation for next season.
They are becoming slightly dependent on Romelu Lukaku, however. The Belgian is flying this season, scoring 13 goals to date following his loan from Chelsea, and is rightly gathering plaudits, as well as momentum. Any Baggies fan will tell you, though, the better he gets the less chance of his return for a second stint at B71 next year.
Robert Huth will complete his three match ban when West Brom visit Stoke. The German received the retrospective suspension for an incident with Phillipe Senderos in the Potters' defeat to Fulham a couple of weeks ago.
Matthew Etherington and Cameron Jerome are also doubts.
Albion will most likely be without Irish duo Steven Reid and Shane Long for the second game running.
Match StatsStoke have taken 16 points from the 7 Premier League meetings between the two sides. The Potters haven't kept a clean sheet in 11, but West Brom have only kept 6 all season, and only 1 away from home. Stoke have picked up the fewest points of any Premier League team since the turn of the year. West Brom still haven't recorded an English goalscorer this season- the only team in the league to not do so. Prediction: I try to be completely impartial in my reports/previews/predictions, so you know I'm being truthful when I say I can see the visitors edging the game tomorrow. At the same time, it would not surprise me in the slightest if the Potters' poor run ground to a halt versus the Baggies. 1-2. Can Albion revenge their defeat earlier in the season at The Hawthorns tomorrow? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.
Source: WBA MAD
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