Fri, Feb 4, 11:12am by Kevin Pitstock
Stoke City and Sunderland square off in the first English Premier League game of the weekend. Stoke look on course to achieve survival with some ease, but a push into the upper echelons of the table seems to remain distant – and arguably unrealistic. They have a quick turnaround after their defeat at Liverpool. Meanwhile the Black Cats still look to have a shot at European qualification despite the multi-million pound sale of striker Darren Bent – something that few were anticipating ahead of the start of the season.
Stoke City Betting Preview
Stoke’s home form has been the foundation of their success in the Premier League, but they have suffered four home defeats so far this season to go with six victories. Defeats by Spurs and Manchester United are one thing, but they’ve also been beaten at the Britannia by Fulham and Blackpool more recently, which is not typical. They looked limp against Liverpool and boss Tony Pulis complained after their FA Cup win over Wolves about a schedule that saw them play on Saturday in the FA Cup, on Wednesday and then Saturday lunchtime UK time. In the past two seasons, Stoke have ground out 1-0 wins over Sunderland in this fixture.
Sunderland Betting Preview
Sunderland remain in the top half of the table and have lost just four of their 12 away games. Their recent results are a mixed bag though, 4 wins and 3 defeats in 8 games, and they also got knocked out of the FA Cup by Notts County despite fielding a strong side. They are that much more difficult to predict without Darren Bent, and at the moment they’ve been playing Ghana World Cup striker Asamoah Gyan as their one striker, with Kieran Richardson tucked just in behind him. They may also be slightly fresher after playing Chelsea on Tuesday.
Stoke City vs Sunderland Tip and Prediction
This looks like it should be a tight and gritty game, so the draw at $3.30 with Sportingbet Australia makes lots of appeal. Stoke’s new strike force has yet to kick in, and a 0-0 draw looks a likely outcome.
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