Stoke v West Brom preview: Mark Hughes looks for first Premier League win of the season
By Andrew Dickson
Last Updated: 25/09/16 12:00am
Stoke will look to finally kick-start their season against their former manager Tony Pulis as he brings his West Brom team to the bet365 Stadium.
With home manager Mark Hughes under pressure following a fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions against Hull, the need for a first Premier League win of the season is pressing.
They have lost their last three meetings with West Brom, however, with each defeat coming by one goal.
Stoke are on brink of losing their first three home fixtures in a season for the first time in their history, while Hughes will be hoping to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat for the first time in his managerial career.
Stoke winger Xherdan Shaqiri will undergo a late fitness test ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with West Brom at the bet365 Stadium.
Shaqiri has not featured since the first game of the season due to a calf injury but has been training this week as he closes in on a return to action.
Forward Jonathan Walters is a doubt after missing the EFL Cup loss to Hull on Wednesday because of an ankle problem.
Tony Pulis will have an unchanged squad when West Brom face his former club Stoke in what will be the Welshman's 1,000th game as a manager.
James Morrison's return from injury against West Ham and Hal Robson-Kanu's inclusion for the first time last weekend means that the only player unavailable to Pulis is Chris Brunt, who is continuing to make his way back from a knee injury.
Pulis has hinted that he might make one or two changes to his starting line-up, despite the impressive 4-2 victory over the Hammers, with Allan Nyom and Saido Berahino pushing strongly for places, while Craig Gardner and Morrison may also be options.
Stoke had three players sent off across their two Premier League meetings with the Baggies last season, including Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam in the first half hour of their home match.
West Brom have only enjoyed four consecutive wins against an opponent once in the Premier League, beating Sunderland in a quartet of games between February 2012 and September 2013.
Stoke have kept more Premier League clean sheets against West Brom than they have against any other side (eight), shipping just eight goals in 14 meetings with them.
Pulis has won all four of his Premier League meetings against his former side, with a victory as Crystal Palace manager to add to his three with West Brom.
Stoke haven't lost five consecutive league games since January 2005 and their last five Premier League goals have all come in the second half of games, including all three this season.
West Brom scored four goals in their last league match against West Ham - as many as they had mustered in their seven previous Premier League games combined.
Nacer Chadli was involved in all of their goals against West Ham (scored two, assisted two) - that's as many as he had been involved in in his previous 28 appearances in the competition.
"You don't manage 1,000 games if you're not a good manager and West Brom fans need to wake up and smell the coffee. If it wasn't for Tony Pulis they would be relegated.
"They got a big result last weekend and this is a good time to play Stoke. They are bottom of the league and have just gone out of the cup, so they need to change their luck very quickly.
"They look weak at set-pieces and that's one area where West Brom are very strong. It's a dangerous game for Stoke because they are expected to win. I think they will, but their flair players need to show up."
Paul predicts: 2-1 (Sky Bet odds 17/2)
Stoke are Sky Bet's 7/5 favourites despite their woeful form, with West Brom 2/1 to heap further misery on Mark Hughes' men, while the draw is priced at 9/4.
The Potters have been cut to 3/1 to face relegation following four successive defeats, while Tony Pulis' current side drifted out to 9/2 following last weekend's 4-2 victory over West Ham.
Wilfried Bony and Salomon Rondon share favouritism in the first goalscorer betting at 11/2 apiece, while Nacer Chadli is 16/1 to bag another brace.