By 90Min
October 20, 2017

Two struggling sides meet on Saturday as Bournemouth take on Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium.

Neither team has started their Premier League campaign well. Bournemouth sit in 19th place with just four points, with Stoke just two places in front with eight points. 

After conceding seven to Manchester City last week, Stoke will be hoping for some damage control with a result against the visiting Cherries. Meanwhile, Eddie Howe's men have managed to score just four goals from their opening eight games, but will hope to change that against this leaky Stoke side. 


Classic Encounter

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Stoke and Bournemouth have only met four times in the Premier League, but so far the advantage is with the Potters. Stoke have lost just one of the four games between the sides, with their only defeat coming in this exact fixture nearly a year ago.

Bournemouth sealed their one and only win over Stoke thanks to a Nathan Aké header in the first half of the November 2016 fixture. 


The Cherries managed to steal all three points, despite conceding a penalty when Simon Francis brought down Bojan Krkic inside the area. Bojan fired the resulting penalty against the crossbar.


Big chances missed by Stoke eventually cost them the game, losing a match for the first time in over two months. Meanwhile, the three points sent the Cherries into the top half of the table. 


Key Battles


Jermain Defoe vs Jack Butland

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With just four goals so far this season, Bournemouth will surely look to experienced goalscorer Jermain Defoe to start bagging a few more for the Cherries. 

Coming off the bench against Tottenham last week, Defoe provided Bournemouth with some of the game's best chances, and forced a good save from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. 

Stoke shot-stopper Jack Butland will need to be at his best to keep out Defoe. He will certainly aim to redeem himself after conceding seven against Manchester City last week. Still only 24, Butland has a lot of time to keep improving as a goalkeeper, and will want to get back on track to be England's number one after a long spell on the sidelines last season due to injury. 

Defoe can certainly create chances for himself, and it will be up to Butland to keep the veteran striker out. 

Jese & Xherdan Shaqiri vs Bournemouth's Defence

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At the other end of the pitch, looking to cause problems for Bournemouth will be Xherdan Shaqiri and Jese Rodríguez. With skill and creativity in abundance, the pair will try to unnerve the Bournemouth defence and get themselves on the scoresheet.


Both have to capability to score goals and create, and both have already opened their goal and assist accounts for the season. They will be the ones delivering crosses or defence-splitting passes to the likes of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting or Mame Biram Diouf in the middle.


It will be up to the Bournemouth defence, in particular their full-backs, to nullify Shaqiri and Jese. In turn, they will stifle much of Stoke's attack.


Team News

Stoke will continue to be without captain Ryan Shawcross, who remains sidelined with a back injury. Joe Allen could return from a concussion scare sustained on international duty for Wales after his missed last week's defeat to Manchester City.

For Bournemouth, they could see the return of Callum Wilson from injury after he started an Under-21 match on Tuesday night. Tyrone Mings is closer to a return from a back injury but will likely miss out this week. Ryan Fraser could return from a thigh injury. 

Potential Stoke Starting Lineup: Butland; Cameron, Wimmer, Zouma, Pieters; Fletcher, Allen, Shaqiri, Choupo-Moting, Jese; Diouf.

Potential Bournemouth Starting Lineup: Begovic; Smith, Ake, Francis, Daniels; Arter, Cook, Surman, Stanislas; King, Defoe.

Prediction
FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-STOKE

With neither side doing well this season, both teams will look to take advantage of the other's poor form. Stoke possibly have more to prove, as fans will watch to see how the team will recover from last week's embarrassing result. 

Bournemouth also have a lot to do, as they are in danger of falling further behind the teams outside of the relegation zone. And after Crystal Palace's win last week, the pressure will be on to bag some points of their own.

It will be a close game, with both teams already having a lot to play for. There is a good chance that the points will be shared on Saturday.


Prediction: Stoke City 2 - 2 Bournemouth

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