Stoke City will welcome Southampton at the Britannia on Saturday where manager Mark Hughes will be desperately looking to change the fortune around with a much needed victory.
After an early good start, Stoke City have found themselves in a mess. After losing the opening game against Liverpool, they bounced back strongly with two successive league victories against Crystal Palace and West Ham. But since then, it has been a hugely frustrating story. Their last league victory has come in August and has lost 5 league games out of last 6, drawing the other one. No wonder, why they are languishing at 17th in the league.
Leaking in goals have been the central problem for Hughes this season. Against Manchester United, they were close to getting full three points but then sloppy defending allowed the Red Devils to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The stats need to change and that too very quickly.
If defence has been the major problem for them, it is certainly not an issue for the Saints at the moment. They currently have the best defence in the country having conceded just, and yes just, three goals so far. They are the only team to have beaten Liverpool at Anfield this season while snatched a point at Old Trafford as well.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team is based on solid and cohesive defensive work. Goal keeper Artur Boruc has been the rock at the back and apart from Robin van Persie, no other striker has beaten him in his last six games.
- The match will be Stoke’s 200th Premier League match (W58, D59, L82).
- Stoke have failed to win in last six league games. Crystal Palace are also win-less in their last six games.
- Southampton’s haul of 18 points from nine games represents their best start to a top-flight season.
- The Saints have kept a clean sheet in all but one of their last six league games.