Fulham v Stoke: Shawcross to score at any time holds appeal

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There have been some question marks over Fulham’s defending of the aerial ball in recent weeks and with Stoke the next visitors to Craven Cottage, this is something that Martin Jol will need to iron out quickly.

Although Stoke’s playing style under Mark Hughes is not as direct as was previously the case when managed by Tony Pulis, they certainly retain a handful of players that warrant close attention from set pieces.

Given Fulham have conceded at least nine corners in each of their last three Premier League games, Stoke are liable to create some set-piece chances and this makes a Ryan Shawcross bet a big price at 11/1 to score at any time in the 90 minutes with Fulham.

Shawcross has already opened his account for the campaign at home to Crystal Palace with a goal from a long throw that wasn’t properly cleared and Stoke’s run of failing to score a header so far this season will surely not extend much longer.

At the prices, it makes more sense to back Shawcross over central defensive partner Robert Huth, who is shorter at 8/1 to score at any time, given they netted the same number of goals last season and the German is yet to score in the current campaign.

Alternatively, Fulham have conceded six of their nine Premier League goals so far to left-footed finishes and so the 5/1 on offer for a Charlie Adam goal has some heightened appeal, particularly as he has started all of Stoke’s last five top-flight games.

Looking back through the previous history of these clubs, the bet that most stands out for this fixture is the 20/21 that both teams fail to score in London.

This bet would have landed in four of Stoke’s last five fixtures in all competitions and half of Fulham’s six in the Premier League. It would have also been successful in seven of the last eight encounters between the pair.

In terms of match betting, Hughes is 9/4 to mastermind a victory over his old club, the draw can be backed at 23/10 and Fulham are favourites with home advantage at 6/5. Fulham have won four of their five total Premier League home games with Stoke.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.