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Struggling Stoke left looking over shoulders following Villa loss

| 06.04.2013

Stoke City have been Premier League ever-presents for the past five seasons, but as the clock ticks down on this campaign Tony Pulis’ men will be nervously looking over their shoulders.

Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa has left the Potters just four points above the relegation zone, a gap which would be cut to three should Wigan win at Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.

A Wigan win would also see Stoke’s odds to be relegated – currently 7/1 – likely to shorten, and with a match against Manchester United on the horizon next weekend then things don’t look like getting any better soon.

The Villa defeat extended Stoke’s miserable run to just one win in the last 13 league games, and with nine of those 13 games ending in defeat then it has been a baker’s dozen to forget for Pulis.

Following that Manchester United game next Sunday they face hypothetical six-pointers against QPR, Norwich and Sunderland before the season is out, but having been well beaten by Villa’s late goals at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday then those are contests that they are unlikely to relish.

Those late strikes from Matthew Lowton (stunningly) and hot-shot forward Christian Benteke took Villa out to 13/5 to go down, and with Paul Lambert’s young team seemingly coming into form at the right time then it could be a different team who finds themselves playing Championship football next season alongside likely relegation fodder Reading (1/200) and QPR (1/20).

Unless they improve drastically then Stoke could well be that team, and with those odds of 7/1 not likely to be around for much longer if Sunday’s results go against them, then now could be the time to back Pulis’ men for the dreaded drop.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing



Mark Jones