Stoke City vs. Luton Town: Preview & Prediction

November’s fixtures list is winding down as Stoke City have just two matches remaining before the World Cup break. This includes Stoke City’s final home game before later this year as the club welcomes Luton Town in on Tuesday.

Stoke City will be looking to again avoid the danger of going into the relegation zone against Luton. The Potters currently sit at 19th on the table with 22 points, which puts the club just two points above Wigand and West Brom who sit at 22nd and 23rd on the table.

As for Luton Town, The Hatters sit comfortably at 8th on the table with 29 points. The biggest negative for Luton Town coming into Tuesday could be the rumored loss of their manager Nathan Jones.

Jones, who has helped steer Luton Town into Championship playoff contention thus far, could reportedly be on the move to The Premier League to manage Southampton. Will the threat of losing their manager affect The Hatters? The Potters will be hoping it might on Tuesday.

How will Stoke City line up against Luton Town?

Stoke City Predicted Formation: 3-4-1-2

Stoke City have been up and down with their consistency over the past month. Does that mean manager Alex Neil will choose to make a massive change at some point with his formation? Maybe.

But for now, Neil’s tone in his press conferences doesn’t seem to be overly panicked. Neil seems to be pointing to a wide variety of issues, while also continuing to hold the belief the club is close to finding more success. So with that, we’ll say Stoke line up similarly to other matches recently in a 3-4-1-2.

Starting XI Prediction: Bursik – Tymon – Souttar – Jagielka – Wilmot – Sterling – Baker- Thompson – Delap – Brown – Gayle

The biggest possible change to Alex Neil’s starting XI could come in the form of Harry Souttar returning from his eleven-month injury recovery. But is Souttar ready to start? That’s the big question. Given the small fixture list of matches left before the break though, Souttar will be itching to show Australia he’s ready for World Cup action. Therefore he might make it into Tuesday’s matchday lineup.

Stoke City vs. Luton Town Prediction:

Like a broken record, Tuesday’s match will come down to the same issues Stoke City have been facing over the past month. Can Stoke City avoid costly mistakes? Can Stoke City generate enough creativity and finishing ability in the final third, and can The Potters bounce back if they face adversity?

So far over the past month, the answers to a lot of those questions have been yes and no. In some matches Stoke City have looked good in some areas of the pitch and have looked poor in others.

In regards to Tuesday’s match, those questions will be even bigger against Luton Town. The Hatters have been a very good road team this year as they’ve only dropped all three points twice on the road. You mix that with Stoke City’s poor home form and this spells a long match for Stoke City.

Which is why it’ll be even more important for Stoke City to be up to the task of grabbing all three points, early and often in the match. Specifically when it comes to pressing The Hatters.

Luton Town does not possess the ball frequently. In fact, The Hatters are third to last in the Championship when it comes to average possession (41.8%). To add to that, Luton Town are last in the Championship with passing percentage (64.2%).

Meaning, Stoke City should be looking to press The Hatters early and often when The Potters lose possession. This should cause Stoke City to have the larger chunk of possession and more importantly, pounce on mistakes Luton make when being pressed.

If The Potters do that, they can make Tuesday’s match interesting and push for all three points.

Final Prediction:

Stoke City get a much needed home win, final score 2-1.