Winless for the first seven Premier League games of the season, things were looking quite worrying for Stoke City. But as domestic duties resume following the international break, Mark Hughes’ side sit in their customary mid-table position and they should be consolidating that with victory this weekend against Bournemouth.
The Potters are 6/5 for the three points, and we fancy that may be a reflection on their early-season woes rather than their recent revival.
A harsh draw from the fixture list handed Stoke home ties with Manchester City and Tottenham, plus away trips to Middlesbrough, Everton and Crystal Palace in the opening weeks of the season. Not easy.
While some of the results were genuinely poor, the six matches since have offered a much more accurate reflection of Stoke’s abilities.
Hughes’ men have won three and drawn three of that sextet, including a fine 1-1 draw at Manchester United.
And Stoke currently sit alongside only Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool as sides who haven’t lost in their last six.
The home crowd have seen their side pick up seven points from their last three games, and that alone would make them a decent punt for Saturday’s clash with the Cherries.
Added to that, Eddie Howe’s men have gone off the boil of late.
A stunning 6-1 home win over Hull was followed by an equally impressive Dean Court stalemate with Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs.
But a 2-0 loss away Middlesbrough was followed by a 2-1 home defeat to Sunderland, handing the Black Cats their first victory of the season.
Stoke also won both meetings last term, and though they sit next to each in 12th and 13th in the table, Hughes’ side look excellently priced at 6/5 for the win.
And after claiming their last three league victories by two goals each, Stoke -1 at 10/3 also warrants consideration.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing