It promises to be a fascinating encounter on Saturday afternoon as Stoke City, undefeated at home this season, entertain fourth-placed Everton.
David Moyes’ men showed in their late comeback win over Tottenham last Sunday what momentum and confidence can do, but the crowd noise on Saturday will very much be in Stoke’s favour.
The Potters earned a respectable draw at Aston Villa to follow on from three wins against QPR, Newcastle and West Brom – they are now unbeaten in five and have crept into the top half of the table.
However, they face an Everton side who are now arguably favourites to finish ahead of Arsenal and Spurs in the final Champions League spot, though Moyes will be the first to tell you there is a long way to go this season.
The form of ‘he of the heroic perm’ Marouane Fellaini has been a chief reason behind the Toffees’ impressive results and it will be tremendously intriguing to see his battle against the likes of Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross.
There will also be question marks over whether striker Nikica Jelavic can cause Stoke problems or whether he may play right into their hands.
With Leighton Baines, Tim Howard, Leon Osman and Seamus Coleman all playing well, the Merseyside outfit will fancy their chances of being the first team to take three points from the Britannia Stadium and if you feel the same you can back them at 27/20.
But if you think that Stoke’s home form will remain impenetrable, read on.
The Staffordshire club are unbeaten in seven games on their own patch and have only conceded twice on home soil, so the 2/1 that the likes of Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam can fire Tony Pulis’ side to victory could attract plenty of interest.
However, after taking everything into account, my personal feeling is that this game is as likely as any to finish level at 11/5.
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Everton’s away form has seen them win two and draw four from eight games, but they have struck 13 goals on the road, just one less than they have at home and notably, just one fewer than Stoke have scored in total this season.
Pulis’ men have struggled for goals in 2012/13, averaging only a goal a game at home, and have scored eight less than any other team in the top half.
The last meeting between the two was also on Stoke’s patch and ended in a 1-1 stalemate, with Cameron Jerome cancelling out a Crouch own goal.
Both teams have drawn half of their games this season, so if you toss a coin and it lands on heads, then this one will be a draw (I’m pretty sure that’s how it works).