Portsmouth - Stoke City

Pompey noticed the worst start in English league competition ever. Considering their performances, I think it’s fair to be said they’re unlucky to not have more points on their balance. Birmingham scored last minute penalty against them, Bolton scored last minute winner, losing six of the eight games they have lost by the single goal margin. They have two positive results in last three games, both on the road Wolverhampton 1-0 and Hull City 0-0. In the previous Cup rounds, they defeated lower division teams Hereford United (4-1 at home) and Carlisle United (3-1 away). For them cup games are the way to satisfy fans and boost the team morale. Beside cup tied Boateng, Smith, Williamson and O'Hara, all others are available and will be presented tonight.

While in Premier League Stoke play over their real capabilities, Cup competition are usually using for the resting the key players. In the previous round, they passed Championship side Blackpool 4-3 (big come back after 1-3) and in round before only managed to sneak past Orient after extra time. Also, record in the league cup is more than poor. They were knocked out by Derby last year. Rochdale the year before. Darlington the year before that, and Mansfield the previous year. League Cup definitely don’t seem as their priority. For tonight’s game, Toni Pulis, announced that he intends to rest some (no less than nine) players and even in some interview warned Stoke fans who travel to Portsmouth not to expect anything near a full strength team out tonight.

Maybe sounds little weird, but Pompey are the favorites here. With every interview, odds have been decreasing from starting 2.40 to recent 2.07 (Pinnacle), but still worth of a bet. Home win.

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