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Stoke City will welcome relegation battlers Middlesbrough to the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday in match week 27 of the Premier League.
Mark Hughes’ men will come into the game after being thrashed 4-0 by Tottenham Hotspur in their previous encounter and will be hoping to bounce back from a demoralizing defeat. Sitting comfortably in the 10th position in the league standings, Stoke will be hoping to strengthen their place in the top-half of the table against Aitor Karanka’s side who are just one point and place above the relegation zone. The two teams met on the opening day of the season and played out a 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium.
Stoke will be without the experienced attacker Jon Walters, who is still expected to be out for a couple weeks. Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri is also a doubt due to a minor calf strain, while Jack Butland and Stephen Ireland remain unavailable as well.
Here we take a look as to how Stoke could line up against Boro on Saturday:
The Stoke goalkeeper has been in top form of late, but he let in four against Tottenham last weekend. He will look to put in an improved showing.
The former Sunderland man has displaced Glen Johnson at right-back in recent weeks. Should feature once again ahead of the former Liverpool full-back.
The captain’s presence in the backline is absolutely vital for the Potters and he will be raring to bounce back after the loss to Spurs.
The summer arrival has slotted in alongside Shawcross in recent weeks and has done quite well. He will keep his place ahead of Marc Muniesa for Saturday’s clash.
The Dutch full-back has been an ever-present for Mark Hughes this term and has been one of their more consistent performers. Expect him to feature from the get-go against Boro.
The former Liverpool man will be expected to provide the thrust going forward for Stoke on Saturday, ahead of the likes of Gianelli Imbula and Ibrahim Afellay.
The Irish international will be entrusted with the duty of providing the shield for his backline and thwart the creativity of the likes of Gaston Ramirez for the Potters against Middlesbrough.
The former Manchester United man will most likely be in for Ramadan Sobhi on the right-hand side. The 29-year old hasn’t scored a single goal for Stoke this season but will provide them with pace and power out wide.
The Welshman has by far been the best Stoke City player this season post his arrival from Liverpool. He will be a definite starter in a central attacking midfield role on Saturday.
The Swedish international is Stoke’s most influential payer in the attacking third. Expect him to pose some serious questions to the Middlesbrough defence.
The January arrival hasn’t started a single game for the Potters in the league so far. But that could change on Saturday. His pace could come in very handy against the Riverside outfit.