What is for certain going into this clash is that there won’t be much love lost in this Midlands Derby taking place over the Matchday VI weekend of the new Premier League season. Hosts Stoke City are desperate for a positive result after a poor start to the season has seen them at the bottom of the Premier League with a solitary point from their opening five games, and a cup exit at the hands of Hull in the week has only served to pile more pressure on beleaguered manager Mark Hughes.
They will entertain visitors West Bromwich Albion, who are led by former Potters boss Tony Pulis. His return to the Potteries will add extra spice to an affair which even at this stage in the season for Stoke may be one of their most important fixtures of the season in halting the barren run they are currently entangled in. Only they and Sunderland are yet to taste victory in the Premier League in 2016/17, and how they could do with one here.
The hosts are on the back of a 4-1 mauling at Crystal Palace, whilst Pulis’ Baggies are currently sat tenth in the fledgling Premier League table after a comfortable 4-2 victory over an out of sorts West Ham United at the Hawthorns. Albion not only go into the contest on a better run of form, but Pulis has managed to mastermind wins in all four of his games in the Premier League against the Potters, including three consecutive triumphs as Baggies boss. He will be looking to add to that record as his Albion side make the short trip up the M6 to his old stomping ground.
So with this derby of sorts having much riding on it for the hosts, and having the added spice of a former manager in the mix, we’ve picked out three things to look out for during Saturday afternoon’s clash at the Bet365 Stadium.