Stoke City - Sunderland

After three rounds in Premier, Stoke already showed they’re capable to secure their status in Premier. Opening win at home (3-0) against new-comers Burnley got the real weight after Burnley defeated Man.Utd. and Everton. Then heavy 0-4 defeat at Enfield (that surely didn’t discourage them) and first point on the road against Birmingham (0-0). So, key of the success is the same like in previous season, winnings at home and grabbing as much points away as it is possible. Last season, only Everton, Chelsea, Man.Utd. and West Ham took all three points from Britannia Stadium (Stoke collected 35 of their 45 points at home). Club’s management is very active in the finish of transfer window. Beside earlier signed Dean Whitehead (ex Sunderland midfielder), German international Robert Huth has completed his transfer to Stoke from Middlesbrough, with Tuncay expected to join him once personal terms are agreed. Also, Sunderland defender Danny Collins is in talks over a potential move to the Potters. It seems the club is a little bit stronger than in previous season and we should expect at least the results at same level. Defender Ryan Shawcross will have a late fitness test, while James Beattie should be fit to play despite limping off against Birmingham with a knee injury. Boss Tony Pulis rested his keys in Cup against Leyton and all will be ready for the game.

The Black Cats have made their best start to a Premier League campaign. Two wins from three games give a faith the club can finish in top half of the table. It is the result of big investments in new players in past two years and the current squad under the lead of Steve Bruce seems very competitive, but surely will need some time to reach their limits. After opening win on the road against Bolton (1-0), Sunderland noticed a defeat at Stamford Bridge (1-3), but team didn’t disappoint with performance. In the last round team made, public judgment is, very lucky win (2-1) against Blackburn at home. During the mid-week, Bruce gave a chance to fringe players vs. Norwich, who used it on the right way and with 4-1 win on the road just additionally raised the confidence in the club. Fit-again goalie Craig Gordon could make his first league appearance since April, with first solution Marton Fulop nursing a heel injury. Mentioned defender Danny Collins, a transfer target for Stoke, is unlikely to be involved in this encounter. As Stoke, Sunderland usually put the better displays at their Stadium of Light than on the road. Last season noticed just three away wins from 19 games and I simply don’t believe they can take three points at Britannia, where btw. they have lost their last two visits.

Considering the players’ individual qualities, Sunderland have a clear advantage. But, Stoke have a home crowd behind, they traditionally notice good results there and visitors are still far from using their full potential. I think hosts will win, but just in case cover a draw with more than decent odd (about 1.74). So, dnb on  home side.

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