Tony Pulis would have gladly taken a point ahead of his team’s 1-1 draw at Dynamo Kiev, although the Potters came desperately close to victory in Ukraine, with Cameron Jerome’s 55th minute strike putting the visitors ahead.
Dynamo equalised in injury-time, although Stoke will now believe that they can finish in the top two of Group E and make it through to the last 32 of the Europa League, with City looking to make home advantage count against Turkish opponents on Thursday night.
Stoke are 10/11 (Ladbrokes – £50 free bets) to claim victory and they demonstrated against Manchester United last Saturday how difficult they are to beat at the Britannia Stadium. However, the big question is what sort of team to field considering they are away to Swansea on Sunday.
Pulis has admitted that the Premier League rightly remains the priority and we may well see Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters rested for the game, although Cameron Jerome is 8/1 (Victor Chandler – £25 free betting) to claim the first goal of the match again.
Besiktas are certainly opponents to be respected after beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv 5-1 to go top of the group a fortnight ago and the visitors are 7/2 to win this match, with the draw perhaps the best value at 12/5.
Most of Stoke’s matches this season have been low-scoring affairs and Pulis will certainly want to see a clean sheet achieved to make sure they remain unbeaten in Europe. Blue Square’s 4/6 is the best price about this.