Our second 15 to 1 bet and we’ve headed to the Britannia where Stoke take on Southampton. Here’s what our three pundits had to say on the game.
Stoke’s phenomenal home form continued on Boxing Day as they shrugged off an early goal to eventually cruise past Liverpool. They’re now 9 games unbeaten in the Premier League and have still not lost at home since February. Their run up the league has been built on a solid defence, as you would expect from Stoke, but they will always cause teams trouble up top with the strength and height of Jones, Walters and Crouch. The next visitors to try their luck at the Brittania are Southampton who have not been very impressive on their travels and are still without their most creative talent, Adam Lallana. Stoke will be missing Shawcross and Cameron at the back tomorrow, which may be why they’re as long as 1.8, but I think that’s a great opportunity to pile into a home win.
Both sides look set to be missing players for this one; Stoke will be without Cameron and Shawcross who have both been excellent at the back and Southampton look set to continue without influential captain Adam Lallana. Stoke were excellent against Liverpool last time out and are really stringing a good run together. They have strength and depth with Adam, Crouch and Upson making up a strong bench which will prove crucial in such a busy period. Southampton on the other hand don’t have such a luxury and a trip to London followed by Stoke will prove hard work on this sort of size squad, especially with Nigel Adkins admitting “couple of knocks” were picked up on Wednesday. It’s very hard to look past a Stoke win here.
The Human Toothpick:
I was surprised at the relatively generous odds on offer here, with Stoke’s ongoing and imperious home form perhaps not being given the full recognition it deserves. This may be in part due to another resilient Saints performance at Craven Cottage on the weekend –but despite the key injury to Shawcross I think Fortress Brittania will be a bridge to far for Nigel Adkins’ men. Llalana looks set to miss out, which again will be a big miss for the new boys and if Kenwyne Jones can continue the form shown over the last few weeks (keeping Crouchy on the bench) then I think him and (notorious home boy) Walters will prove to be the difference. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Saints goal here though, and not just because Shawcross will be in the stands.
Bet 2 – Stoke to Win @ 1.8 – Stake £43.75