The Relegation Rumble: Stoke City
Stoke City are a newly promoted side from the Championship, and they certainly play like one. The operating procedure has been physicality, holding the line at home and hoping for some magic from Rory Delap’s wicked throw-ins. It has worked with a modicum of success. They are sixteenth in the table on 32 points.
Form: Stoke have three wins, three losses and two draws in their past eight matches, though they have won two of their last three. The club will compete at home, but be inept on the road, where they have no wins and three draws the entire season.
Schedule: Stoke have possibly the easiest schedule of any of the relegation candidates. They face only one big four side, Arsenal, with a dead rubber possibility, if the Gunners continue to pull away from Aston Villa. They have benign home matches against Newcastle and Blackburn. West Ham and Wigan don’t strike much fear either. They also have a softer road schedule against West Brom, Fulham and Hull City.
Injuries: Sidibe is the only notable injury, though Stoke have cover for him, such as it is, with Fuller and James Beattie.
Prognosis: Stoke City may be the least talented team with a chance to stay up, but the schedule bodes well for them. If they can win at home, and nick a draw or two on the road, they should be in position to stay in the Premier League.