Stoke City vs. Blackburn: Preview and prediction
Stoke will once again be looking to get into the win column after a midweek 0-0 draw against QPR. While the Potters have demonstrated elite defensive play, they have clearly had trouble scoring and creating. They’ve had just 3 goals in their last 6 matches.
One encouraging sign for Stoke midweek was the play of Tom Ince against QPR. The winger was Stoke’s best attacking option and it will be interesting to see if he get another opportunity. In addition to this, Thibaud Verlinden looked energetic in his return to Stoke, he will be another attacking option for Stoke who is fighting for more playing time.
Steven Fletcher saw limited action as a sub on Tuesday. Fans have to be hoping Fletcher starts – he’s the clearest answer to Stoke’s scoring problems.
Another good sign for Stoke will be the return of John Obi Mikel. Mikel will join Danny Batth and Tommy Smith who have both recently been added back to the squad. Stoke will still be without Sam Clucas and Lee Gregory.
Blackburn sit just a few points back of Stoke in the table and could leap ahead with an away victory. Blackburn have no trouble scoring this season – they are second in the Championship in goals with 34 and are tied for second in goal differential at +11 for the season.
This should truly be a matchup of an elite defense against a prolific attacking team. This, in addition to the fact that both teams are fighting for a playoff spot, makes this match truly one to get ready for.
Stoke – W-W-L-D-D (+1 goal differential)
Blackburn – W-D-L-L-W (even goal differential)
Collins – Souttar – Batth – Fox
Mikel – Thompson
Ince – Powell – McClean
Predicting that Batth will return to the squad for Chester and Thompson will be in for Tymon. Fletcher should be in for Brown who has been scoreless for quite some time and needs some time to rest and reset. Ince should have earned another start.
Nyambe – Lenihan – Ayala – Douglas
Holtby – Johnson – Rothwell
Elliot – Armstrong – Gallagher
Blackburn will be without Derrick Williams, Ben Brereton, and Corry Evans.
I think Stoke will do enough to break their scoring drought at home, but will also concede to a dangerous Blackburn attacking group. The Potters should be wary of Adam Armstrong and Harvey Elliot who have both proved incredibly dangerous attacking options. It really will be yet another test for the Stoke defense to see if they can step up to the competition. Also predicting a bigger match from James McClean who was relatively quiet earlier in the week.