Stoke City’s season finally got off the ground last weekend. A convincing 2-0 win at home to Sunderland was what Mark Hughes’ doctor ordered. The Potters look to get another victory when they visit the KC Stadium on Saturday.
Last weekend couldn’t have been different for the two sides facing off on Saturday afternoon.
Stoke City enjoyed their first, deserved win of the season, comfortably seeing off a weak Sunderland outfit. Hull City, meanwhile, were torn to shreds on the south coast at the hands of Bournemouth.
A win last time out for Stoke was very much required, and the manner of the win will please Hughes.
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Hull’s promising August seems like an age ago, with the 6-1 drubbing away at the Cherries no doubt ringing some alarms in East Yorkshire.
Can Hughes’ men keep the ball rolling?
It’s been a promising month for Stoke, with a draw away at Old Trafford followed by last weekend’s first victory.
A trip to the KC Stadium should, in theory, bear a fair amount of fruit for the Potters – anything less than three points on Saturday will undoubtedly be seen as a missed chance.
Stoke will move out of the bottom three, leapfrogging Hull, should they win.
Hughes has, for the most part, been able to stick with a solid, consistent starting XI.
Last week’s absentee Glen Johnson remains sidelined, while replacement Phil Bardsley faces a late test on his hamstring.
Problems at right-back aside, Hughes has a fully-fit squad to pick from.
Hull are expecting the return of their club captain, Michael Dawson, after some time out nursing knee problems. They are however without Andy Robertson and Moses Odubajo who miss out through calf and knee injuries, respectively.
Form book favouring Stoke City
While Stoke City are without an away win in the league since March, recent results are favouring the Potters.
Stoke City last five: LLDDW
Hull City last five: DLLLL
On the basis of the last five games, Stoke should be bringing three points back to the bet365 Stadium.
Mark Hughes has never lost a game as a manager when he has faced Hull, while Stoke’s first clean sheet in 18 last weekend will give the back-four confidence.
Hull seem to be in free-fall. Each promoted side always manage to pull off a result or two in the opening couple of weeks of the season, but Hull are starting to find life hard.
The omens were bad from the offset for the Tigers, with a very limited player pool and off-field issues not an ideal way to begin life in the top-flight.
I have been impressed with Stoke’s recent resurgence. Hughes is having his way with the players, while Joe Allen and a rejuvenated Marko Arnautovic have of course had a hand in the turn-around.
I think this game is massively important for Stoke City. The players, club and fans will be expecting three points, so there is definitely added pressure on what would normally be a routine fixture.
Nonetheless, I expect the red and white to rise to the occasion and nick a win, 1-2.