Saturday, 6 May 2017

Can AFCB push their top half finish hopes against Stoke City?

AFCB have played Stoke City three times since joining the Premier League and while they squeaked a 0-1 away win up at the bet365 stadium back in November, courtesy of a Nathan Aké header, AFCB know their in for hard work this weekend. They have always been close games and Stoke City have usually found enough quality to come out on top, as they did last season 1-3 in this fixture.

Stoke are having a bad run in away games.
This Saturday could well be a different story though. Stoke City have not scored a goal in an away fixture in the league since 14th January, when they beat Sunderland 1-3. It is a surprising statistic considering that Stoke are in mid-table and would go ahead of AFCB if they won this game. Indeed, scoring goals or rather the lack of them has been a major reason for Stoke's failure to progress further up the league, and when Joe Allen and Marko Arnautovic are top scorers on six goals each, it can't have been a fun filled season for most Potters fans. Arnautovic has been pretty erroneous in his shooting of late and his penalty miss against Swansea City scuppered any chance of them picking up points in that away match where they were slight favourites to win.


With Arsenal and Southampton yet for Stoke to play, there is a good chance that AFCB can finish higher than Stoke City in their second season, which would be a great achievement, as Stoke have been in the top league since 2008 when they finished 12th. It is hard for the fans to be as incentivised for the end of the season games when your team is near enough safe and is just playing to finish as high as it can, but I guess that is why Eddie Howe isn't celebrating anything just yet, as he doesn't want AFCB's players to lose any of their edge.
Stoke are always a very physical side. 
The home record for the Cherries has been reasonably favourable when taking on mid-placed teams and with four wins in their last 10 games against Stoke City's 2 wins in their last 10, the odds start to look good for a AFCB picking up at least a point in this match.

AFCB Home Form

Stoke City Away Form

Probable team: 4-4-1-1 Boruc (GK), Smith (RB), Francis (CD), S Cook (CD), Daniels (LB),
Fraser (RW), L Cook (CM), Arter (CM), Pugh (LW), Stanislas (FW), King (FW)

Allsop, Mings, B Smith, Gradel, Gosling, Ibe, Mousset

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