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Rupert Wyman 27th Feb 2011 - 15:36

Tony's side can Pul the strings

West Brom fans beware! The Baggies have an atrocious record against the Potters. They have only managed to win one game in their last twenty-eight against Pulis' side.

Stoke have to be admired, they are financially secure, in a respectable league position and they can no longer be viewed as relegation fodder. They are now an established club but they are not renowned for their pretty football.

Wenger is not a fan of the Potters, he will have been far more impressed this season with a West Brom side that have played some cracking football at times.

West Brom were taken apart early in the season by Chelsea but they beat Arsenal at the Emirates. However, their early season form and the security of being mid-table have deserted them and they are now in a relegation dog fight.

The directors and board were impatient with Di Matteo, he was not given enough time to turn their poor form around. They have not made a rash choice in Hodgson but he is clearly humiliated by his tenure at Liverpool. Pre Liverpool, he was being touted as the next England manager.

If Hodgson is going to save them, they need to get results.  West Brom are 3/1 for the away win, the draw is 12/5 and the home win is 10/11. I do not think that the 10/11 will still be available at kick-off, the stats and form more than suggest that it will be a home victory.

Stoke have won their last three games at home and they won 3-0 with ease at the Hawthorns in November. West Brom tried to sign the on loan Stoke centre forward Carew during the transfer window but he decided to join the Potters temporarily.

He can add the necessary firepower to stop Stoke potentially getting involved in a relegation dogfight, the table is very close at the bottom.

He is a classic Pulis signing, he is technically good but he is a powerful and bulky target man. He is great in the air and a fantastic target man who fits in with their direct style of play.  He is 6/5 to score anytime and 9/2 to grab the first goal.

Stoke are solid at home and they have a future England star in the making in Ryan Shawcross. West Brom have only scored thirteen goals away from home in the league and Stoke are 5/4 to keep a clean sheet. West Brom's last away goal was back in December when Scharner netted in a 2-1 defeat to Villa.

Albion's top scorer is Odemwingie and he has netted just under a third of the team's league goals this season.  He is 9/4 to score anytime and West Brom will want their on-loan player Vela to start finding the back of the net.

If Stoke attack like they did in the reverse fixture, it could be another goal-fest. The three nil Stoke win is 16/1 and over 2.5 goals is even money. I would back the over goals markets because although Stoke may find the net more than once, West Brom just cannot score away from home recently!

West Brom were handed four cards against Wigan recently and Stoke are not a clean side. With so much at stake at this time of the season, the game could get heated.  Both teams will want to impose themselves on the game and it is 5/1 for a card to be given between the 1st to 15th minute.




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