Stoke City welcome West Bromwich Albion to BET365 Stadium in a blockbuster top-five showdown in Friday Night Football from 2021-22 Sky Bet Championship.
Victory will move Stoke up to third until Saturday afternoon at minimum, whereas West Brom will remain top of the table with a win unless Bournemouth defeat Sheffield United and better the Baggies’ goal difference on Saturday afternoon.
Sam Clucas is suspended for Stoke after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Preston.
Romaine Sawyers (ineligibility), Joe Allen (toe), Morgan Fox (hamstring), Abdallah Sima, Steven Fletcher (both ankle) and Tyrese Campbell (knee) remain ruled out.
West Brom have no fresh injury or suspension concerns to report after Tuesday’s win at Cardiff.
Matt Clarke (hamstring), Dara O’Shea (ankle) and Kenneth Zohore (fitness) remain absent.
- Stoke have won two of their last five league meetings against West Brom (W2, L3).
- West Brom have lost one of their last five trips to BET365 Stadium (W3, D1, L1).
- Two of Nick Powell’s four league goals this season have been scored at home.
- Matt Phillips has scored in three of West Brom’s last four away matches with two of his three goals coming in first-half injury-time.
- Tim Robinson who has been appointed referee for this match was also in charge of the last meeting between Stoke and West Brom at BET365 Stadium in November 2019, as West Brom won 2-0.
Having made a bright start at Preston on Tuesday evening, Stoke will certainly be disappointed to have found themselves held to a draw but defending has been their biggest issue this season, as evidenced by just three clean sheets in all competitions but their attack has been consistently difficult to stop.
West Brom meanwhile were just ruthless with high energy and pace to rip Cardiff apart on Tuesday evening and I can see them trying to cause similar issues, particularly if they get on the front foot and can attack Stoke’s defence which seem to be their weakest area at present.
This though is a top of table clash so I don’t expect Stoke to roll over because Michael O’Neill’s Potters will certainly make a decent fight here, yet I do believe that West Brom will have enough quality to force a winner.
Prediction: Stoke 1-2 WBA
Result: Stoke 1-0 WBA