It has been a rather disappointing first season in the second tier for Nathan Jones’ Stoke City, and they will be hoping for a win against the Royals this weekend to distance themselves from the bottom three.
They currently sit 10 points and five places above the relegation zone, but a few bad results and they could quite easily be involved in the relegation fight. They come into the game on the back of two consecutive 0-0 draws and will be confident of keeping a clean sheet against the Royals, but may struggle to score themselves (especially without the injured Benik Afobe).
Scoring has been a major issue for the Potters this season, and they only average 1 goal per game so far this season, which ranks them at 21st of all the teams in the division. The Royals rank two places above them with an average of 1.1.
The previously mentioned Afobe has top scored so far for Stoke and Welsh midfielder Joe Allen sits in second place with 6. The Potters also average 10.9 shots per game, which shows how inaccurate their shooting is, however the Royals simply can not rely on this and, if allowed too many chances, have the potential to punish us.
The person who will be creating a lot of those chances will be Welshman, Joe Allen. The former Liverpool man has chipped in with six goals and four assists so far this campaign and has a pass success percentage of 83.3%. He will be the man that The Potters will be hoping to pull the strings in the centre of the park on Saturday.
Irishman James McClean has the most assists for Stoke so far this season and he will be a massive threat out on the wings. Royals full backs Andy Yiadom and Tyler Blackett will be in for a long afternoon with the former mentioned McClean and Tom Ince running at them.
Time for my prediction. I would love to be positive and go for a Reading win, but I just can’t see it I’m afraid. I think it will be 1-0 to Stoke. The Leeds defeat on Tuesday could have knocked the stuffing out of the Royals a bit and (hopefully I’m wrong) I think that the players may have been brought down to earth after their last-minute heroics of the last two weekends.
But hopefully I am wrong and they go and get another massive three points.