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Besiktas vs Stoke: Stubborn Stoke can take a point to top Group E

| 13.12.2011

Already qualified Stoke travel to Turkey knowing they only need a point to clinch top spot in Group E.

With the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United dropping into the competition from the Champions League, finishing as group winners could prove essential to gain an easier draw in the next round.

Stoke are 10/3 to win the match, and it is 5/2 they get the draw they need to cement their place atop of Group E.

Besiktas meanwhile, play with the same incentive, knowing victory would see them crowned group winners, though they need just a point to be absolutely certain of advancing.

The Turkish outfit have won four of their past five games in all competitions, and sit third placed in Turkey’s Super Lig.

They are 6/5 to score the victory over Stoke here.

Tony Pulis is expected to ring the changes for the trip abroad, but such is the stature and quality now evident in his ranks, that even his second-rate side look good enough to achieve a result away to this dangerous Turkish opposition.

Jonathan Walters, Peter Crouch and Matthew Etherington amongst others will not feature after Sunday’s gruelling triumph over in-form Tottenham, but a battle-hardened second string including squad members such as Salif Diao and Cameron Jerome can ensure the visitors get the point that they need.

The Potters came from behind to inflict defeat on Besiktas at the Britannia Stadium, winning 2-1, and it is 14/1 that they win by the same scoreline away from home.

However, a more sensible option would appear to be backing a 1-1 draw, which is available at a decent 11/2.

A Besiktas attack which features invention aplenty in the form of Ricardo Quaresma, Simao and Necip Uysal, is likely to be cancelled out adequately the physical nature of Stoke’s play, and for this reason it looks like a draw is the best bet here.



John Klee