Improving Pompey can cause Potters problems
Stoke City take on Portsmouth in the second of a thrilling Super Sunday on Sky Sports.
A month ago if this game would've taken place you would have said it was almost a home banker, but Stoke haven't won in three games and Portsmouth have lost just two of their last six, including a Carling Cup win against their opponents on Sunday afternoon.
Stoke are still a solid outfit at home though, and if it weren't for a late late goal from Florent Malouda the Potters would've lost just once in six games at the Britannia Stadium, however they did let a two goal lead slip against Wolves in their last home outing so will be desperate to get back to winning ways on home turf.
Portsmouth won't make it easy for them though, in their last game at Blackburn they were on top until Sam Allardyce made a double change at half-time; unfortunately for Pompey though that was to lead to their downfall as one of the subs Jason Roberts scored twice to give Rovers a 3-1 win, they were the first goals that Paul Hart's team had conceded in three games though and they're starting to look like they can give this relegation battle a good go.
The only problem now for Portsmouth is turning performances into results, because with Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool all to come before Christmas this is just the sort of game that the visitors can't afford to drop points in if they're to have any chance of avoiding the drop.
Tony Pulis' team look like they're in for another season of mid-table security, so they will look at this game also as one where they can try further their credentials of being an established Premier League team; something which their opponents have achieved thanks to Harry Redknapp's spell in charge at Fratton Park.
Stoke, with their captain Abdoulaye Faye missing through suspension, are 21/20 to win the game. The draw could be the likely outcome in this game, with Stoke struggling to keep clean sheets and Pompey only winning one in 19 Premier League games outside of Fratton Park, and that's a 23/10 chance; the visitors are 13/5 to get the three points and make it two wins from 20 away matches.
Stoke look like they will be without the services of Glenn Whelan, who was the last player to score a winning goal for them four games ago, but they're not short of goals; they're short of making them count though as the Potters have lost 12 points from winning positions - more than any team in the league, it makes Stoke in the 'Lead At Half Time And Not Win' market at 19/2 look an appealing price.
That's happened in their last two games, and in both of them Matthew Etherington has scored the opener; the winger is 12/1 to get the first goal and 5/1 to bag one at anytime of the 90 minutes.
After initially struggling to get goals, Portsmouth have now scored nine in their last three games, with Aruna Dindane (8/1 to pounce first, 11/4 anytime) and Frederic Piquionne (8/1 first, 11/4 any) scoring three each, but with Ivorian Dindane struggling with a chest injury the likes of Tommy Smith (10/1, 7/2) and Nwankwo Kanu (10/1, 7/2) could be getting minutes and should be considered for the opener in this one.
It looks like it could be a tense affair, but whatever the outcome of the game is you can be sure of one thing; William Hill is the only place you need to look for live betting, with our In-Play service offering a huge range of in-running markets for your betting needs.