Stoke will look to use their home advantage on Saturday to end a run of poor form, with just one Premier League win since the New Year: a 2-1 win against 19 place Reading. West Brom on the other hand will look to build on a decent run of form, with three wins out of their last four, including a 2-0 victory at Anfield. That has been their only victory of 2013 away from home however, and Stoke approach this match in the knowledge that they have only lost twice at the Britannia all season.
If Stoke are to stop Romelu Lukaku, who has 13 goals in the league this season and four goals from his last three games, their defence will have to improve from an uncharacteristically poor performance against Newcastle last week. A formidable defensive side, Stoke have conceded 6 from their last 5 games, but they have scored an underwhelming three. Crouch and co. have ability, as they showed in December, when they scored three against Liverpool and Southampton in successive games, but will need to find better form if they are to beat a strong West Brom side on Saturday.
West Brom could go 6 with a win if Liverpool lose to Southampton. If Arsenal miss out on three points at Swansea, they could also move to within one or two points of European qualification. Stoke, on the other hand, could drop from a very respectable 11 to as low as 14 with a loss, and would also risk losing touch with 10 place Fulham, who are equal on points but have a game in hand.
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
West Brom 0 Stoke 1 (Whitehead), Premier League, December 2012
Stoke 1 (Jerome) West Brom 2 (Morrison, Dorrans), Premier League, January 2012
West Brom 0 Stoke 1 (Shotton), Premier League, August 2011
Stoke average less than one goal a game, with 27 goals from 29 games. The only team to have scored fewer than them this season are QPR.
Romelu Lukaku, Shane Long, Peter Odemwingie and Zoltan Gera have scored more Premier League goals combined than Stoke this season.
The only teams to have conceded fewer goals than Stoke this season are Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
West Brom have drawn only four games all season: the lowest of any Premier League side other than Manchester United.
Stoke have drawn twelve: the joint-highest in the league, with Everton and Norwich.
Stoke to win: 1.45
West Brom to win: 2.00
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm
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