CLUB COLOURS: Red and white
STADIUM: Brittania Stadium (27,740)
POSITION 2012/13: 13th
LAST FIVE LEAGUE RESULTS: Crystal Palace (H) won 2-1, West Ham United (A) won 1-0, Manchester City (H) drew 0-0, Arsenal (A) lost 3-1, Norwich City (H) lost 1-0.
THE GAFFER: Mark Hughes is a manager Fulham fans will know well after he took charge of the side during the 2010/11 season. Fulham finished eighth that campaign and Stoke and Hughes will be looking for a similar position come May. Known affectionately as ‘Sparky’ because of his combative nature as a player, Hughes is famously disciplined and authorative. He’ll have his side well drilled and organised for the game with the Whites.
THE TACTICS: Under former manager Tony Pulis, Stoke were famously known for their long balls into the box, set-pieces and long throws. Hughes has fine tuned these strengths and created a more enjoyable brand of football for fans to watch. Now their game plan is more varied, as well as long balls Stoke are adept at playing passes along the ground, building possession and playing out from the back. There are a lot more options for City to exploit defences now, but their defence is still resolute as ever and won’t concede any space to Fulham’s attackers.
Asmir Begovic: Few would have thought Begovic would as highly reputed by fans and pundits alike even just a few seasons ago. Second choice at Portsmouth and a string of uninspiring loan moves preceded his time at Stoke, but now the Bosnian keeper has cemented himself as one of the best in the Premier League. He’s acrobatic, comanding and a great presence for the defence to count on. If Stoke keep a clean sheet against Fulham, it will be no small thanks to this man.
Peter Crouch: Originally as famous as much for his height as his footballing ability, the 6'7" striker is now taken very seriously for what he can do on the pitch. Great at holding up the ball and wins plenty of headers because of his size, he’s also very good with the ball at his feet. Scored the Premier League goal of the season against Manchester City in the 2011/12 campaign and knows where the back of the net is, so Fulham will have to keep a close eye on him at all times if they’re to win the game.
Charlie Adam: The central midfielder is Stoke’s main playmaker and most of their play, when on the ground, will go through him. Has a point to prove after a disappointing spell at Liverpool. The Scotland international still has a lot to offer and will look to control the tempo of the game from the middle of the park.
2 – League games Stoke City have won this season
4 – Goals Stoke have scored in six league games this season
6 – Consecutive seasons they’ve currently spent in the Premier Leauge
1863 – Year club was formed