Stoke City may not be to everybody’s taste but nobody can question the job Tony Pulis has done in turning the Britannia into a fortress.
QPR are the visitors on Saturday and the home side are firm favourites at 5/6 (Paddy Power – £100 free bets). They have had tricky fixtures at home, having hosted four of the top six and having taken five points from those games they will be confident of beating the Hoops.
That confidence will not have been helped by losing their last match 5-0 of course. That was away from home though (to Bolton), and – like many of their defeats this season – came after a Europa League game on the Thursday.
With the international break allowing many of their squad recuperation time they should be fresh and raring to go. They have a fine defensive record on home soil, having kept clean sheets in three of the five league games at the Britannia. They can be backed to do so again at 13/10 (Paddy Power) and this looks a decent bet.
Neil Warnock’s side are ahead of their hosts in the Premier League on goal difference but have struggled in front of goal. They have scored just 10 goals in the league and, with Bothroyd and Taarabt failing to settle into Premier League life as well as Rob Hulse and DJ Campbell injured, this looks unlikely to change.
Given QPR’s defence has been poor away from home – they are conceding 2.2 goals per game on average – it is very hard to see them doing enough to gain the win. The draw might be the best they can hope for with 1-1 a possibility at 13/2 (William Hill).
However, if you do fancy them to nick the three points they can be backed at 4/1 (Stan James – £150 free betting) but that may prove too much and we think Stoke should edge it.