The Opposition: West Bromwich Albion
There has been much talk of Stoke and West Brom this summer, with the Saido Berahino saga still dragging on.
Whether he will end up at Stoke, WBA or elsewhere come the end of August remains to be seen, but if he gets his shooting boots and head on then he could be vital to any success at the Hawthorns.
Tony Pulis has done another typical job- making West Brom solid and difficult to beat. Crucially, he has given the club stability in the top flight, although there continue to be whispers surrounding his potential departure following the appointment of Technical Director Nick Hammond.
Traditionally Stoke love a tussle against our local rivals, but West Brom remain unbeaten against The Potters following Pulis’ appointment.
Darren Fletcher has turned into a magnificent signing for the club, and the captain showed his quality during his first full season as a Baggies player.
Salomon Rondon also displayed moments of class following his big money move to the West Midlands, and in light of Berahino’s potential departure there will be plenty of weight on the Venezuelan’s shoulders to deliver the goods.
How will West Brom get on? Well, whilst under Pulis’ stewardship it’s difficult to see anything but a solid mid-table finish.
Memorable match: Stoke 1-0 West Brom. 22 November 2008. As a 90 minute match this was not the most exciting spectacle, but in terms of importance it was right up there. Many Stoke fans had earmarked back-to-back home clashes with West Brom and Hull as must win games in our quest for survival following promotion to the Premier League. It seemed as though Stoke were going to throw away two massive points until the 84th minute, when Mama Sidibe climbed highest to superbly head home Danny Higginbotham’s deep cross. As it happened, Stoke drew against Hull the following week, but ultimately achieved survival- ironically with a win at Hull.
2016-17 Fixtures: 24 September (H), 4 February (A).
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