Crystal Palace v Stoke - Sunday 14:15, Sky Sports 1
Crystal Palace were much improved against Middlesbrough, with Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha rightly taking the plaudits. The record signing was bought by the club to finish exactly that kind of chance, whilst the perennial criticism of Zaha has been his end product. Here, he got both an assist for the opener and scored the winner himself, and more performances like this will be welcomed at Selhurst Park.
Palace didn’t have things all their own way and could easily have conceded an equalizer, but victory breeds confidence and momentum that this side desperately needed. The Eagles are now unbeaten in their last three matches across all competitions, and seem to have finally put the bad run to an end.
Stoke fans will be increasingly concerned by their teams form even at this early stage of the season, with the Potters rooted to the bottom of the table and only one of three teams yet to register a win. Mark Hughes can point to some legitimate grievances with refereeing decisions, but the excuses will start to wear thin if his side keeps losing. If they are to stop the rot, Wilfried Bony will have to find his scoring boots whilst Giannelli Imbula will need to capture his pre-season form to shore up the porous midfield.
This match promises to be quite a tense affair, with the hosts knowing anything other than a first home win of the season will put a brake on the momentum gained from the win over Middlesbrough. Neither side seem to be able to win the first half in the Premier League, with Palace having failed to do so in their last 19 attempts and Stoke only managing the feat once in their last 10. With Palace improving and Stoke stalling, we’re backing Draw/Palace in the half-time/full-time market, at 5.25.