Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs Stoke

Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs Stoke City

Venue: Anfield – Tuesday, December 27 – 17:15 GMT (12:15 ET)

Match Odds: Liverpool 2/7 – Draw 9/2 – Stoke 9/1

Match Preview

Liverpool welcome Stoke to Anfield on Tuesday evening in what should be another festive treat for Premier League fans across the globe.

The Reds come into the game in high spirits after a dramatic Merseyside Derby win last Monday and can keep the pressure on league leaders Chelsea with a victory here.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have not lost at home this season and have been finding the net with ease more often than not in front of their own fans.

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Liverpool host Manchester City on New Year’s Eve in what is a huge fixture, so they’ll be desperate to take three more points into that crunch tie.

Stoke aren’t expected to offer much of a test and they’ll be deflated given the way they let a two-goal lead slip at home to ten-man Leicester last weekend.

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The Potters have been inconsistent all season and have never won a Premier League game at Anfield. In fact, the last time Stoke won a league match at Liverpool was in 1959, so they aren’t expected to leave with three points here.

Liverpool have won four of their last five meetings with Stoke, with the sole defeat in that time coming in that shock 6-1 loss on the final day of the 2014/15 season.

Team News

Liverpool remain without Philippe Coutinho, although the Brazilian playmaker is expected to be back in time for the New Year’s Eve clash with Manchester City. Joel Matip remains a doubt, so Ragnar Klavan may continue at the back, while Daniel Sturridge will be pushing for a start after making a good impact off the bench in the Merseyside Derby.

Stoke have a host of first-team players out of this one. Marko Arnautovic is suspended, while Ibrahim Afellay, Jack Butland, Geoff Cameron, Phil Bardsley and Stephen Ireland are all ruled out. Xherdan Shaqiri was benched for the draw against Leicester but may return to the starting lineup here.

Key Points

Liverpool’s last five: W/L/D/W/W

Stoke’s last five: W/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 15 home games in the Premier League – the longest active streak in the top flight.

Key Player: Sadio Mane – The Senegalese winger has probably been Liverpool’s best player this season. He’s the top scorer with eight in the Premier League and will look to continue his fine record at Anfield, having contributed to eight goals in seven home league games since joining the club.

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Score Prediction

Liverpool 2-0 Stoke – Liverpool have responded well since their shock defeat at Bournemouth, keeping back-to-back clean sheets since Simon Mignolet earned his place back in goal. The Reds are expected to get past Stoke without too much difficulty here, and can keep the pressure on Chelsea with another three points.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Stoke vs Manchester City

Competition: Premier League – Stoke City vs. Manchester City 

Venue: Brittania Stadium – Saturday, December 5 – 08:45 EST (12:45 GMT) 

Match Odds: Stoke City 4/1 – Draw 14/5 – Manchester City 4/6

Match Preview

Manchester City travel to Stoke in Saturday’s lunchtime kickoff as the visitors look to give themselves some breathing space at the top of the Premier League table for a couple of hours at least.

Stoke City will have other plans though as they will see this match as a free swing at a big club and they might see this as something of a ‘nothing to lose’ fixture.

With 12 of their 21 points coming away from home, the Britannia hasn’t been as intimidating this year as it usually is. It did, however, see the Potters beat champions Chelsea last time out 1-0 and a similar result would delight the home crowd as well as former City boss Mark Hughes.

Stoke City’s Premier League record: P14 – W5 – D4 – L5 

Stoke are currently the lowest scoring team in the league, having netted just 11 goals, and will put that down as the main reason they are not higher in the table. More success in front of goal could see them break into the top ten but that will be a tough task against the Citizens this week.

The Potters are on a high as they managed to book a place in the League Cup semifinals with a 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night and will hope to keep momentum building.

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Manchester City come into this match without a win from last three on the road, which makes it difficult to understand how they find themselves at the top of the Premier League.

City are the highest scorers in the top flight this season (30) and it’s fortunate that they are, given their defensive frailties when captain Vincent Kompany isn’t available.

Without the absences of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and the aforementioned Kompany, City always look a better side and having all three of those back and fit again will be a real boost for the side. Silva is back in action, with Aguero also improving his match fitness levels so things are looking up for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

Manchester City’s Premier League record: P14 – W9 – D2 – L3 

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With just two points separating the top four at the moment, City will settle for nothing less than a win on Saturday as they look to take a grip of the league with the busy Christmas schedule about to get underway.

This will be the 15th Premier League clash between the two sides. City have only lost two of the previous 14 meetings and will be hoping for a repeat performance from their last visit to the Britannia as they won 4-1 in February.

Team News

Stoke City are without Shay Given, Peter Crouch and Peter Odemwingie through injury. Marc Muniesa is a doubt but could play a part.

Manchester City will be without several players as Fernando, Jesus Navas, Vincent Kompany, Samir Nasri and Pablo Zabaleta are all suffering with injuries. Joe Hart, Eliaquim Mangala and Sergio Aguero are all doubts but should feature. David Silva returned to the team on Tuesday and will start here.

Key Points

Stoke City’s last five: L/D/W/W/L

Manchester City’s last five: D/W/D/L/W

Key Stat: Manchester City have only lost one of their last 16 meetings with Stoke City.

Key Player: Kevin De Bruyne – Summer signing De Bruyne has been sensational since joining from Wolfsburg and is adding some vital goals from midfield (4) as well as racking up six assists so far. Expect him to be influential on Saturday.

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Score Prediction

Stoke City 0-1 Manchester City – Matches between these two are usually low scoring affairs and we’re not expecting that to change too much here. We expect City to win but not by much. This should be a tough game for both, and should make for good viewing.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Stoke City vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Stoke City vs. Chelsea

Venue: Britannia Stadium – Saturday, November 7 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Stoke 13/5 – Draw 12/5 – Chelsea 21/20

Match Preview

Stoke City host Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday evening for a crucial Premier League clash, with the visitors desperately hoping to recover from a poor start to the season.

The Potters have endured an inconsistent opening 11 games, with just three wins so far and they have failed to score in their last two games, leaving them fourteenth in the table.

Their performance away at Newcastle in last weekend’s 0-0 draw certainly wasn’t glamorous, but it was a valuable point nonetheless, given the manner of the 2-0 home defeat to Watford the week before.

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Mark Hughes has his side playing a generally more entertaining brand of football than they did under Tony Pulis, but the fans will be hoping it doesn’t mean sacrificing results and Stoke need to find some consistency.

Stoke’s Premier League record: P11 – W3 – D4 – L4

It’s a desperate situation for visitors Chelsea, who arrive in Stoke following their worst ever start to a Premier League season, which has left them in the unfamiliar depths of fifteenth place.

And just when it seems like it can’t get any worse for manager Jose Mourinho, it somehow does. The 3-1 defeat at home to Liverpool last weekend was followed by the news that he has been given a one-match stadium ban for his behaviour in the loss to West Ham two weeks ago.

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Despite the doom and gloom surrounding Stamford Bridge, the Blues did secure a vital 2-1 win at home to Dynamo Kiev in their Champions League group stage on Wednesday thanks to a late goal from Willian.

Chelsea’s Premier League record: P11 – W3 – D2 – L6

The last Premier League meeting between these two sides was a 2-1 home win for Chelsea in April, while the last league meeting at Stoke was also a success for the Blues, winning 2-0 in December 2014.

However, Stoke will take confidence from their performance just under two weeks ago, as they knocked Chelsea out of the League Cup via a 5-4 penalty shootout win, after the game had finished 1-1.

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Team News

Stoke goalkeeper Shay Given (knee) and defender Marc Muniesa (hamstring) are out. Geoff Cameron will return to the squad following a thigh strain which ruled him out of the last two games. Phil Bardsley is also available again after serving a one-match ban. Midfielder Marco van Ginkel is on-loan from Chelsea and is ineligible to play against his parent club.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will not be able to attend the game after he received a one-match stadium ban for his behaviour in the West Ham game. Thibaut Courtois remains a long-term absentee, while Radamel Falcao is out with a muscular problem. Defender Branislav Ivanovic returned to training this week after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Key Points

Stoke’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/W/L/D

Chelsea’s last five in the Premier League: D/L/W/L/L

Key Stat: Stoke have only beaten Chelsea once in the Premier League (D3, L11) a 3-2 success back in December 2013.

Key Player: Willian – The Brazilian has been one of Chelsea’s only consistent performers in this campaign. With five goals in all competitions, he’s the top scorer at the club this season and they’ll certainly need him to continue his fine form.

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Score Prediction

Stoke City 1-1 Chelsea  This is bound to be a tight game with so much at for Mourinho and his Chelsea side. We could see a repeat result of the League Cup game 11 days ago.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Stoke vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Stoke City vs. Liverpool

Venue: Britannia Stadium – Sunday, August 9 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Stoke 12/5 – Draw 12/5 – Liverpool 6/5

Match Preview

Stoke host Liverpool on Sunday afternoon in their 2015/16 Premier League season opener in what will be a repeat of their final game of the 2014/15 season, in which Stoke stunned Liverpool 6-1 at the Britannia.

That game ensured the Reds ended a disappointing season in disastrous fashion, while the Potters went into the summer in high spirits after a promising campaign.

Mark Hughes has had another impressive summer as far as transfer dealings are concerned and Stoke look to have strengthened, even with the loss of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to Chelsea.

They will be looking to start the year with another win against Liverpool as they look to improve on last season’s ninth placed finish and perhaps bring European football back to the Britannia.

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A far from impressive preseason campaign saw the Potters win just two of six games, losing their last three games on the bounce coming into the season opener.

On the other hand, Liverpool come into the new year in excellent form, having not lost any of their six preseason matches.

Brendan Rodgers is under pressure to turn things around at Anfield after a disappointing season last time out, but the losses of Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling could make that a tougher task than it seems.

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Plenty of new signings have arrived and the test will be getting them to gel quickly as they look to break back into the top four after their sixth-placed finish last season.

Team News

Stoke will still be without Bojan, although the playmaker is back in training after missing the final five months of last season. Ryan Shawcross is also ruled out, while Marc Wilson and Marko Arnautovic are doubts. Glen Johnson, who joined on a free from Liverpool this summer, could make his debut at right-back.

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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has three injury concerns as Jon Flanagan and Daniel Sturridge are ruled out, while Joe Allen is doubtful. New signings Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner and Christian Benteke are all set to start for the Reds in what will be a new-look side. Roberto Firmino may have to settle for a place on the bench as he is not believed to be fit enough to start.

Key Points

Stoke’s preseason form: L/W/W/L/L/L

Liverpool’s preseason form: W/W/W/D/W/W

Key Stat: There have been 16 goals in the last three games between the two sides – an average of 5.3 per game.

Key Player: Christian Benteke – Liverpool’s £32.5 million summer arrival will look to start life as a Red with a goal on the way to helping his new side to three points.

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Score Prediction

Stoke City 2-2 Liverpool – Expecting another open, entertaining game at the Britannia between two sides looking to start the new season with three points. Stoke will be looking to follow up their end of season result with another victory but Liverpool should be out to impress and their new signings should earn them at least a point in this one.

2015/16 Premier League Predictions: Winners, losers and everything between

The 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season is just a couple of days away as one of the most hotly anticipated days in the football calendar edges ever closer. But for those looking past the opening round of fixtures, there’s another long campaign ahead with drama, thrills and spills guaranteed.

New teams, managers and players have arrived ahead of what looks set to be a close-run season at either end of the table, with sides strengthening across the division over the course of the summer.

The Premier League is almost impossible to predict, but we’re going to have a go anyway because who doesn’t like to sit back at the end of the season and think: ‘Wow. I didn’t see that coming.’

Will Chelsea retain their title? Will Harry Kane manage to replicate his scintillating form from last year? And will Sunderland ever go down? Read on to find out what our editor, Louis East is predicting for the 2015/16 Premier League campaign:

Title winners: Chelsea

Chelsea fully deserved their success last season as they ended up winning the title by eight points, despite a relatively poor end to the campaign by Jose Mourinho’s high standards. They may not have changed too much over the summer, but they didn’t need to. They were easily the best side in the country last time out and should be too strong once more, although they can expect to be pushed right to the end by Manchester City, Arsenal and possibly Manchester United.

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Relegated:  Norwich, Watford & Leicester

Always difficult predicting who will go down before a ball has even been kicked, but three teams have to be selected here. It’s easy to go with all three promoted sides but I’m expecting Bournemouth to hold their own in the top flight and so I think Leicester City will join Watford and Norwich in falling through the trapdoor. Without Nigel Pearson, the Foxes were doomed last year. Now he’s gone, it’s hard to see them staying up. Sunderland are always lingering near the danger zone but Dick Advocaat looked to turn things around and they should survive yet again.

Player of the season: Wayne Rooney

Eden Hazard lit the Premier League up last term but hasn’t looked as sharp so far in preseason and Wayne Rooney’s opportunity to play as the lone striker should see him pick up his first Player of the Year award since the 2009-10 season. He played as a striker that year, netting 26 times, and the England captain should find himself at the heart of everything United do going forward this year as they look to be serious title contenders once more.

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Best young player: Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling’s controversial move from Liverpool to Manchester City has seen the player attract plenty of criticism from those in and around football, but his quality cannot be questioned. Still just 20, Sterling has the opportunity to kick on and develop further at City and will look to record his best season yet under Manuel Pellegrini this year.

Golden Boot: Harry Kane

Few could have predicted what Harry Kane went on to achieve during the 2014/15 campaign but the young Spurs forward ended the year with 21 league goals and didn’t even establish himself as a first-team regular until October. He now has a full season to shine and should better his goal tally. Many are predicting his performances will dip, but he only seemed to improve last year and will be a better player from his experiences.

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Surprise package: AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth won the Championship in fine style last year, scoring more goals than anyone else with the second best defence in the league. The jump to the Premier League is a big one but there is a sense of real optimism around the club that they can hold their own in the top flight. Eddie Howe is a great young coach and should guide his team well clear of relegation as they look to be this season’s surprise package.

Shock of the season: Brendan Rodgers first to be sacked

Life as Liverpool manager has been tough for Brendan Rodgers. After narrowly missing out on Premier League glory in the 2013/14 season, the Reds dropped down to end last year in sixth, with that final day 6-1 defeat to Stoke one the fans were left devastated by. They start this season at the Britannia but Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling have gone and will leave Rodgers with further problems to fix. A flurry of new signings have arrived again but Rodgers might not have long enough to get them to gel this time around with pressure mounting rapidly.

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Signing of the season: Dimitri Payet

It was tough to neglect Petr Cech here as the goalkeeper will make Arsenal a much better side, but overall I think Dimitri Payet will prove more important to West Ham than Cech will to Arsenal this year. Payet arrives at the Hammers from Marseille off the back of a stellar season in France as he picked up 17 assists with seven goals in 36 league games. Only Lionel Messi made more successful through-balls in Europe’s top five leagues than Payet and he should ensure West Ham have a year to remember in what will be their last at the Boleyn Ground.

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Manager of the year: Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes has done a fine job with Stoke since taking over from Tony Pulis two years ago and doesn’t always receive the praise he deserves. Another fine summer of transfer business has seen the Potters strengthen with the likes of Glen Johnson, Marko Van Ginkel and Ibrahim Afellay arriving. Add that to the fact that Bojan will be back fighting and Hughes should have a Stoke side capable of replicating the stunning performance of Southampton last year.

What are your predictions for the 2015/16 Premier League season?

Premier League 2014/15 Season Review: Stoke City

Premier League Final Position: 9th 

Review

Stoke City equalled their highest ever Premier League position of 9th, beating last seasons points tally of 50, with 54. Mark Hughes has been transforming Stoke from a long-ball side to a ball playing side and this season has been very respectable. They have been very difficult to play against at the Britannia and have beaten; Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, Everton and Arsenal at home. Impressively, they won away at Manchester City and did the double over Spurs.

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Podcast Review

Best Moment

Beating Liverpool 6-1 on the final day – what an achievement this was for Stoke. To be leading at 5-0 was quite possibly the most surprising moment of the Premier League season. It showed how they have the ability to exploit a side on the back-foot and was a great way to cap off a good season.

Worst Moment

Losing 2-1 to Burnley at home. This was a disappointing result for Mark Hughes, conceding two goals in as many minutes isn’t just poor defending but it also shows a lack of concentration.

Player of the Year

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Charlie Adam – the Scottish midfielder enjoyed another good campaign, scoring seven goals and registering one assist. He played a pivotal role in the midfield and showed his ability to provide the unthinkable with his wonder goal against Chelsea.

Biggest Win 

Stoke City 6-1 Liverpool (May 24, 2015)

Biggest Defeat

Arsenal 3-0 Stoke City (Jan 11, 2015)
Stoke City 1-4 Manchester City (Feb 11, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

Stoke need to start avoiding defeats to sides lower in the table if they are to improve on 54 points. Coming 9th is a great achievement and any improvement on that will be another great season.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Stoke vs Manchester City

Stoke City vs. Manchester City – Premier League

Venue: Britannia Stadium – Wednesday, February 11th – 19:45

Match Odds: Stoke 15/4 – Draw 11/4 – Manchester City 7/10

Stoke take on Manchester City at the Britannia on Wednesday night with the Potters aiming to complete a historic double against the current champions for the first time in Premier League history.

Mark Hughes watched his Stoke side beat the Citizens 1-0 at the Etihad back in August and he will now have his team fully focused on trying to take another three points from his former club.

Manchester City come into the game in very poor form by their high standards as they haven’t won a Premier League game in four and have only scored three in their last five in all competitions.

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Manuel Pellegrini watched his side battle back to earn a late point at home to Hull on Saturday in another poor result but City fans will hope James Milner’s stoppage time free-kick can inspire them to turn things around quickly.

City are seven points behind Chelsea in the Premier League title race going into the game and cannot afford to let the Blues gain any more of an advantage if they are to reclaim the title come May.

Stoke come into the game off the back of a 1-1 draw at Newcastle on Sunday and the Potters have only lost one league game in seven now.

Stoke City’s home record in the Premier League: Played 11 – Won 5 – Drawn 2 – Lost 4

Mark Hughes’ side are in their best form of the season and the home fans will fully expect to take something from the game, having only lost one of their last six at the Britannia in all competitions.

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Stoke’s win against Manchester City at the start of the season stunned the champions and a Stoke victory in this one would see them complete the double against City for the first time in the Premier League era.

Manchester City’s away record in the Premier League: Played 12 – Won 7 – Drawn 4 – Lost 1

Manchester City have only lost once away from home in the league all season in a 2-1 loss at West Ham and know they cannot afford to lose this one and that should make this an exciting contest.

Wilfried Bony and Yaya Toure still remain out as they have yet to return from the African Cup of Nations and City have not won a game this season without Toure in the side.

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Peter Odemwingie, Bojan, Erik Pieters and Ryan Shawcross are all out for Stoke while former City man Stephen Ireland is also likely to miss the game.

Stoke City’s last five in the Premier League: D/L/W/W/D

Manchester City’s last five in the Premier League: W/D/L/D/D

Key Stat: Manchester City have never won at Stoke in the Premier League in six previous attempts (D5 L1).

Key Player: Mame Biram Diouf – The Senegalese forward returned from the African Cup of Nations in Sunday’s draw with Newcastle and his goal at the Etihad earlier in the season will still be in the minds of City fans and players alike.

Score Prediction: Stoke City 1–1 Manchester City – Can City do it on a cold Wednesday night in Stoke? No is probably the answer.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Newcastle vs Stoke

Premier League: Newcastle vs Stoke 
Venue: St. James’ Park – Sunday, February 8 – 14:05
Match Odds: Newcastle 13/10 – Draw 11/5 – Stoke City 11/5

Newcastle take on Stoke City in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon in what looks set to be an intriguing matchup, with both sides coming into the game off the back of wins last weekend.

Newcastle United are hoping to win their first home match under new interim head coach John Carver, following their win at the KC Stadium last Saturday, crushing Hull City 3-0.

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Whilst Stoke City go into the game at St. James’ Park off the back of two wins in their last three matches in the league.

Newcastle are currently sitting in 11th place and a win this Sunday afternoon will see them rise above their opponents Stoke and go into 10th.

The Magpies registered their first win since December 28th with victory against Hull last time out and will now hope to win back-to-back league games for the first time since November.

With their lack of consistency this season it’s no surprise they are lingering around mid-table and for a club the size of Newcastle they should be a lot higher. However at home Newcastle have defeated league leaders Chelsea and last season’s runners-up Liverpool so they will expect to pick up all three points against the Potters.

Newcastle’s home record: Played 11 – Won 5 – Drawn 3 – Lost 3

Stoke City had a mixed January in the Premier League with two wins, a loss and a defeat in the league but ended with two wins on the bounce, along with a win against Rochdale in the FA Cup.

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The Potters are without Bojan for the rest of the season so they will lack some creativity considering how important he has been to the side since he joined from Barcelona last summer. A win for Stoke could send them into 9th if Swansea slip up on Saturday against Sunderland at home.

Stoke City’s away record: Played 12 – Won 4 – Drawn 3 – Lost 5

If you cast your mind back to the reverse fixture at the Britannia back in September, Stoke took all three points thanks to a Peter Crouch goal in a 1-0 win.

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With both teams coming off big wins last weekend it will be hard to call the result in this one. Mark Hughes will want to erase the memory of Stoke’s 5-1 loss at St. James’ Park last season by defeating the Magpies. Expect this to be close.

Newcastle United’s last five in the Premier League: W/D/L/L/W

Stoke City’s last five in the Premier League: W/D/L/W/W

Key Stat: Jon Walters has scored four times in previous nine meetings between the sides in the Premier League.

Key Player: Jon Walters – The Republic Of Ireland striker scored a hat-trick against Queens Park Rangers last week and will be hungry for more goals as he comes into the game thriving on confidence.

Score Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Stoke City – Stoke to earn a hard fought win at St. James’s Park.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Stoke City

Stoke City travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal on Sunday afternoon with the Gunners seeking revenge after they fell victim to a 3-2 loss in the reverse fixture this season.

The Potters are coming off the back of a three game unbeaten run that includes an away win at Everton, a home win against West Brom and an important draw against Manchester United on New Years Day.

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Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from their below par performance last time out as they fell to Southampton in a 2-0 loss at St Mary’s, and need to win to keep tabs on the top four.

Arsenal’s home record: Played 9 – Won 5 – Drawn 3 – Lost 1

Much of the focus will be on the home side in this encounter as the Gunners are expected to have German international Mesut Ozil available once again and he could potentially start on Sunday.

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Arsene Wenger’s has fielded an unbelievable twelve different combinations in defence this season. An unsettled backline being one of the reasons why Arsenal have struggled thus far.

And Mark Hughes will hope that Bojan can wreak havoc against the Arsenal defence as he did at the Britannia earlier in the season.

Stoke City’s away record: Played 10 – Won 3 – Drawn 3 – Lost 4

Stoke will be without Mame Biram Diouf however as the Senegal striker is away at the African Cup of Nations.

There is hope for this Arsenal side though, as they have won their last three at home in Premier League and enjoyed a 2-0 victory over Hull in front of their home fans last weekend in the FA Cup.

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Their recent form against their opponents hasn’t been good enough however, as they have lost the last two meetings with Stoke. Could this be a third straight win against Arsenal for Mark Hughes’s men?

Arsenal’s last five:W/D/W/W/L

Stoke City’s last five: D/L/W/W/D

Key Stat: Arsenal are undefeated in 26 of their last 27 Premier League games at the Emirates.

Key Player: Alexis Sanchez – The Chile international has been a sensation since his move to the Emirates last summer and most of Arsenal’s attacking play will go through him.

Score Prediction: Arsenal 2 – 1 Stoke City

Preview and Prediction: Stoke vs Manchester United

The New Year will explode into life with a full set of fixtures from the Premier League on New Year’s Day with Stoke City facing Manchester United in the early kickoff.

The Potters come into the game in the best form of their season, having only lost one of their last five in the league. They beat West Brom 2-0 on Sunday, following up an impressive 1-0 win at Everton and look confident.

Stoke’s home record: Played 9 – Won 4 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4

Though this will be another big test as Manchester United are also in fine form. The Red Devils have not lost a game since early November and have won seven of their last nine.

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However, their form away from home is not too convincing and the 0-0 draw at Spurs on Sunday was the second away draw in a row.

Manchester United’s away record: Played 9 – Won 2 – Drawn 5 – Lost 2

Mark Hughes watched his Stoke team beat his former club for the first time in 20 years in this fixture last season and that result should give the Potters confidence.

Louis Van Gaal has come through the hectic Christmas fixture list with a solid points return but is still without several first-team stars such as Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, Marouane Fellaini and Angel Di Maria.

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The reverse fixture this season saw United win 2-1 in a close game at the start of December and this one should be even closer as both sides will want to start 2015 with a win.

Stoke have already beaten Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton this season and are always a threat in the big games.

Key Stat: Manchester United have won 13 of the last 15 meetings between the sides

Stoke’s last five: W/D/L/W/W

Manchester United’s last five: W/W/D/W/D

Key Player: Bojan – The Spanish midfielder has been a bright spark for Stoke of late and he will need to continue to impress if they are to get something out of this game.

Prediction: Stoke City 1-1 Manchester United – A hard fought draw as both sides will want to start the New Year without defeat.