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Premier League Match Time: Stoke Vs Blackburn

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2010-10-05 08:08:28     
Article by Suresh Iyer

Stoke City will host Blackburn Rovers in a Saturday afternoon Premier League game at the Britannia Stadium.

Stoke have made a come-back after a bad start that would have prompted their greatest fans to write them off. But not only do the squad look tough but have actually proved hard to beat, after three successive defeats in their first three matches. In their next three, Stoke banked seven points out of a possible nine.

Tony Pulis will happy at the tenacious quality of his squad and that should stand them in good stead in the Birmingham match. But the interesting thing will be to see if the mood lasts, as the longest streak of unbeaten matches Stoke have had, in two previous seasons of the Premiership, is seven matches.

Against a similar team, in Blackburn, the Potters will look to Kenwyne Jones to continue his goal scoring form; Jones has had a strike in every match he has played for Stoke this season. Ricardo Fuller and Jermaine Pennant are unlikely to play in the Birmingham game.

Blackburn have had three successive matches unbeaten, and after a 2-1 win against Blackpool, they will look for a back to back win against Stoke, something they last achieved in March 2009. The Rovers, like their rivals on the weekend, are a never-say-die outfit, and a keen tussle can be expected on the day.

But Blackburn haven't been great travellers, in recent years. But their away win against Blackpool at Bloomfield road last week was an exception and their uncharacteristic willingness to attack in that game saw the Rovers gain two lucky goals.

But an interesting stat is that although Blackburn have scored in all of their last 10 Premier league games, they have not scored a goal in their last three against the Potters.

Blackburn's record at the Britannia is not very encouraging, with just nine wins to show in 41 games at the venue. Also, other than the Bloomfield Road win against Blackpool, they have not had an away win since beating Aston Villa, in their last match of the 2009-10 Premiership season.

Blackburn lost their last match against Stoke at the Britannia, after they were reduced to 10-men following Samaba's send-off with a red card. The final score was 3-0 in the Potters' favour. I am inclined to believing that this year's match will have a similar result.

Stoke are likely to go with the following starting eleven: Sorensen, Collins, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson, Etherington, Diao, Whelan, Whitehead, Walters, Jones

Blackburn's possible starting eleven are: Robinson, Givet, Nelsen, Samba, Salgado, Jones, Nzonzi, Kalinic, E Diouf, Pedersen, M Diouf.

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