City are no longer considered to be Premier League strugglers after several seasons in the top flight, although Tony Pulis’ side will be looking over their shoulders if they return north with nothing to show for their endeavours at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
The main problem for Stoke is that the Britannia Stadium has been far from a fortress this term and Saturday’s 1-0 reverse to Sunderland in the snow means they come into this match off the back of three straight defeats.
Pulis will demand total focus from his players despite a Europa League date against Valencia next week and the visitors can be backed at 3/1 (Paddy Power free bets) to win at the Cottage, having beaten Fulham 2-0 at home earlier this term.
Scoring goals has been problematic for Stoke who will be missing the suspended Robert Huth although Peter Crouch does have eight for the season and the front man is an 8/1 chance (bet365 £200 free bets) to score the first goal of this game.
As for Fulham, they have been hard to predict all season and offered little threat to Manchester City last weekend, although Martin Jol’s side can go level on points with their opponents by obtaining victory in this game.
The Cottagers are one of the Premier League’s top scorers at home and even money (Sky Bet) says that they claim a maximum haul, despite the recent sale of Bobby Zamora to QPR. In his place comes Pavel Pogrebnyak, although Clint Dempsey is surely a safer wager to score the first goal of the game.