Two of the Premier League’s most improving sides meet at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday as Crystal Palace test their top six credentials against the in-form Potters, who will go level on points with their opponents with victory.
Stoke comfortably saw off Manchester City in their last home match and haven’t lost in front of their own fans since Watford beat them back on October 24.
The hosts have kept consecutive clean sheets in their past two outings and have not conceded a single goal in the 497 minutes that captain Ryan Shawcross has played this season.
Those with an eye on predictions might fancy a 1-0 scoreline if the stats are anything to go by; no team has won by one goal to nil more than Stoke so far this season, whilst no-one has lost by that same scoreline more than Palace.
Alan Pardew’s side continued their strong recent run with victory over Southampton last time out, meaning the Eagles have lost just once in their last six fixtures.
Palace are enjoying their best-ever Premier League season to date; their total of 26 points from their opening 16 games is their best top-flight record since 1991-92.
The visitors also have a strong recent record at Stoke, losing just twice there in the last ten visits. A strong result this weekend will ensure a very merry Christmas indeed for the Palace faithful.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Geoff Cameron are both doubtful for the hosts; who are definitely without Shay Given, Peter Odemwingie and Peter Crouch.
For the visitors, Mile Jedinak is likely to miss out but fellow midfielder Joe Ledley is passed fit. However attacking duo Dwight Gayle and Bakary Sako are both absent.
League Position: Stoke – 11th (23 pts); Crystal Palace – 6th (26 pts)
Last Meeting: Stoke 1-2 Crystal Palace (March 21, 2015)
Key Players: Stoke – Marko Arnautovic; Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha
Form: Stoke – DWWLWD; Crystal Palace – DWLWDW
Prediction: Stoke 1-1 Crystal Palace