Both Stoke and Palace lost their respective opening day fixtures, and Mark Hughes will hope his characteristically slow starts to the season don’t kick in once again.
Despite eventually finishing 8th in his only season at Fulham in 2010-11, the Whites were in the bottom three at New Year. Stoke acquired only one win in their first ten League games last season, and with a squad halfway between the Pulis era and Hughes’ new signings, points could be hardy to come by until the contrasting styles gel. Wilson Palacios is likely to miss out again with illness, and Brek Shea’s wait for a run of games in the Premier League continues as he nurses a knee ligament injury.
Crystal Palace endured a similarly poor start to their last Premier League season, and they’ll need to strengthen if they are to avoid relegation this time around. The aging pair of Aaron Wilbraham and Stephen Dobbie looked out of their depth against Spurs, but Stoke will present a better opportunity for the duo to show their worth. Loanee Jason Puncheon could feature after signing from Southampton earlier this week; Jonathan Parr could return to the left-back position after missing out on the season opener.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Stoke 4 (Jones, Walters 2, Jerome) Crystal Palace (Murray), FA Cup replay, January 2013
Crystal Palace 0 Stoke 0, FA Cup, January 2013
Stoke 1 (Whelan) Crystal Palace 2 (Soares, Fonte), Championship, April 2008
Stoke have only won 3 of their last 17 Premier League games.
Peter Crouch scored and was sent off for Southampton when these two teams met during Palace’s last stint in the top flight.
Ian Holloway’s Blackpool side lost their second game of the 2010-11 season 6-0 to Arsenal, courtesy of a Theo Walcott hat-trick.
Palace won just one of their opening nine games during their last season in the Premier League (2004-05)
Stoke to win: 1.91
Palace to win: 3.6
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.20pm.