Bournemouth v Stoke
Saturday 6 May, 15:00
Saturday 6 May, 15:00
Eddie Howe can look forward to a third season in the Premier League after last week's 1-0 win at Sunderland took his side to 10th place on 41 points, to all intents and purposes a safe position.
Striker Benik Afobe is doubtful after going off with a hamstring injury at Sunderland. Junior Stanislas, who came on as sub, is set to replace him in the starting line-up alongside Josh King. Jack Wilshere, Andrew Surman, Dan Gosling and Callum Wilson all remain out of action.
Mark Hughes's side are virtually safe in 12th place with 40 points, having hit the wall in recent weeks with just one win in their last eight games and no goal scored in five of them.
Jon Walters is doubtful with a knee injury, while Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland are long-term absentees.
A difficult match to weigh up, with both teams in the middle of the table and no doubt feeling safe. It is worth noting that teams who have reached the 40-point mark this season have a collective subsequent record of W1 D2 L10 and, with both of these sides at that point, motivation is clearly a key factor.
One of them might seize the initiative, however, and on recent form that is more likely to be Bournemouth. Their last defeat by a side outside the big six was away at West Brom in late February and since then their record in that category is W4 D1 L0 (three wins out of three at home).
That should give them plenty of confidence against Stoke, whose last four wins were against teams currently in the bottom five (going back to early January). Their record against teams above that group in that period is W0 D4 L6.
Bournemouth have won seven out of 11 at home to teams outside the big six and the Cherries do not look bad odds at 2.30.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Stoke are top for games with under 2.5 goals, with 22 out of 35 (63%). On the road their figures are slightly higher, with 11 out of 17 (65%).
Bournemouth's home games tend to be high scoring, however, with 10 out of 17 (59%) going over 2.5 goals. All 10 came in Bournemouth's 14 scoring games at home, which indicates there is a good chance of over 2.5 goals unless Stoke can shut them out.
Paul Tierney has shown a red in each of his last two Premier League games, but in general he is not a card-happy ref. Before those last two games, his bookings points had totalled no more than 30 in six of his seven Premier League matches this season.
Back Bournemouth to win at 2.30
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