Another year in Stoke City’s Championship story is about to come to a close — For The Potters final chapter of 2022, Stoke City host league leading Burnley on Friday.
Going into Friday’s clash at Bet365 Stadium, Stoke City find themselves at 17th on the table with 30 points. By comparison, The Potters sit 20 points behind first place Burnley in the Championship going into Friday’s match.
The good news for Stoke City though is the club still sits just 6 points out of Championship playoff position. On the flipside again however, Stoke City also only sit 5 points out of relegation position on the table.
Meaning no matter how you slice it, Friday’s match for Stoke City will again be another really important chance at points to end 2022.
The Difference in the Two Sides on Friday
There’s no hiding the fact that there’s a gulf in quality this season between Stoke City and Burnley. If you do have any doubts at all, look no further than the goals for and goals against for both clubs this season thus far.
When the ball is kicked-off on Friday, Stoke City will have scored 28 goals this season so far and conceded 32. For Burnley, The Clarets come into the match with 49 goals scored for and only 24 goals conceded.
That’s a -4 goal differential for Stoke City and a league best +25 goal differential for Burnley. You add in both teams’ form as of late (Stoke City have one win in their last five/Burnley have four wins in their last five), and the picture is painted perfectly.
That picture being the difference between the two sides so far this season — One club has been elite, and the other being Stoke City has been mediocre at best.
Stoke City vs. Burnley Prediction
The positive news for Stoke City (as with any professional sports team), is that any given day can be your day. If Stoke City can come up with their best performance of the season, there’s no reason why the club can’t walk away with points — Maybe even all three points.
But the real question you have to ask yourself going into Friday, is how Stoke City actually get the job done? For starters, it’ll take some better defending from The Potters compared to their recent performances.
Something else it’ll also take for Stoke City, is some consistent quality in attack on Friday — Which is something that The Potters have done a decent job at so far since the World Cup restart in the Championship.
The issue with all of those scenarios though is Burnley have been one of the top teams in the Championship defensively. So, Stoke City could find their time on the ball on Friday very difficult to get anything going.
The other issue is Stoke City overall haven’t shown the ability in recent weeks to defend for a full 90 minutes — So what does that all equal for Stoke City? It equals a scenario where Stoke City have to play their best match they’ve played all season if they want any points on Friday.
Can Stoke City do that? Earlier this season the club did manager to play to a 1-1 draw against Burnley. But from what we’ve seen so far from the rest of this season, it’s very unlikely.
Even if Alex Neil has had some okay results this season (including the Burnley draw), it’s mostly been a disappointing season for Stoke City so far and Neil is going to need more time to build The Potters.
With that, we’ll say that Stoke City’s form continues on Friday and The Potters have one more rough patch before the end of 2022 — Burnley have the better quality overall, the better attack overall, and the better defensive ability overall.
The Clarets should roll on Friday against Stoke City, even if the two clubs first meeting earlier this year turned out okay for Stoke City.
Prediction: Burnley win 3-0.