Writer: S Wilton
Date:Saturday November 20 2010
20 November 2010
This is not the game that Baggies fans wanted after only grabbing 1 point from the last four games. Stoke City make a habit of beating the Baggies and have only lost once in the last 26 games between the two sides.
However, Stoke will hopefully find a much different West Brom this time around. The Baggies are far more resilient and able to stand up physically to any side. Di Matteo has improved West Brom defensively without taking anything away from their creative attacking side. In Odemwingie they have a front man who will never let a defence rest and who is cute enough to win free kicks from defenders who like to impose their physicality on the opposition forwards.
Stoke City are incredibly powerful up front with Jones and Fuller, on their day, able to rip apart any team. This will be a real test for the Baggies backline and something that Tamas and Pablo will never have experienced before.
Having initially dreaded this game I am looking forward to it now. It will be a clash of styles but whilst the teams have there own distinctive styles both sides are able to change their styles to suit, Stoke have some good football players who can pass it around and Albion have some players not afraid of a challenge and able to rough up the opposition when necessary. This should be a cracking game.
'I don't want my team to be pretty.
I want my team to win games.
That's the ultimate aim and result.
I don't care if I need to win by playing a certain way, that's not a problem for me.
I want to win games.
If we have to be ugly to win...then we will play ugly.
We have improved in that respect.
Last season we only lost seven games in the Championship out of 46.
That shows an improvement.
This season we haven't conceded many goals from set-pieces, so we are getting better.
It won't happen overnight and when you have to change three of the back-four then it doesn't help because it's like taking two steps back.
But I think we're moving in the right direction.'
Olsson will be missing again and his physical presence is hard to replace. Brunt is out following his injury in the midweek meaningless friendly and Reid looks like he might keep his place ahead of Jara who only returned from South America yesterday.
How Mulumbu competes with the Stoke midfield will be crucial to how the game pans out. He is in sparkling form this season and hopefully will be the difference this afternoon.
Stoke look set to field the same team that beat Liverpool with ease last week.
If Jones wants to play this afternoon he will be a great threat but he is so inconsistent that the Baggies defence might get a quiet afternoon.
Stoke have won six of the last seven league meetings between the two clubs.
West Brom's last victory over the Potters was a 1-0 win at the Hawthorns in September 2003. Scott Dobie scoring the goal.
Stoke have lost six and won one of their last seven Premier League away matches.
Chris Foy is not the man that the Baggies would want to be the ref as he is one of the most lenient in the Premier League.
2-2, this should be a cracker.
Next Saturday away at Everton, a very similar side to Stoke City.
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Date:Saturday November 20 2010
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