Stoke City have made a dismal start to their Premier League campaign. After four games, the Potters have just one point and have conceded as many as ten goals in the process. Big things were expected of them this campaign as they had finished ninth in the last three seasons on the bounce. However, Mark Hughes’ side have been far from impressive and need to buckle up really soon or else they have a tough season ahead.
Crystal Palace, on the other hand, are on the back of a 1-2 win against Boro from last week. The Eagles started their season with two back to back defeats but with one draw and one win in their last two games, things are definitely improving. Here are three key battles that could potentially decide the fate of the game.
Glenn Whelan Vs Joe Ledley
Yohan Cabaye is set to miss the Stoke City game with a minor injury which means Joe Ledley will play in a box to box role alongside James McArthur. The 29-year-old has done a decent job this season so far in the Premier League and he will be the more adventurous midfielder with McArthur sitting deep. Ledley has an impressive 88.9% passing accuracy this season and provides the drive forward and experienced Glenn Whelan’s job will be to stop him. As an individual, Whelan has done well this season but he has to provide more defensive shield for his back four.
Wilfred Bony Vs Scott Dann
Bony, Stoke City’s deadline day capture from Manchester City on loan, had a disappointing debut in the 0-4 loss to Spurs last week. The Ivorian will be keen to show his true colours on Sunday against Crystal Palace but he has to go through Scott Dann who has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League this season. Dann’s average Whoscored rating this season has been 7.51 which speaks for how good he has been this season. An average of 3.5 aerials won every game, Dann will give a neck to neck fight to Bony for dominance in the air.
Ryan Shawcross Vs Christian Benteke
Crystal Palace shattered their club transfer record for Christian Benteke this summer and the Belgian has made an immediate mark at Selhurst Park with one goal in two games. The Belgian has won an average of 8 aerials balls in the two games which is exceptional and will look to tear apart Stoke City’s underperforming defence. Shawcross, Stoke City’s skipper, has to take the duty to deal with Benteke and the winner of this battle can decide the outcome of the game.