There was a marked improvement from the Potters in their last game against Leicester City, with the return of long-term absentee Bojan Krkic to the starting XI making a massive difference in terms of their attacking play. His presence inspired more inventiveness and incision, and they put the opponents to the sword in the first half with Marko Arnautovic especially influential.
So it was hugely disappointing to see all of their good work undone after the break as Mark Hughes’ men became the latest to surrender to Leicester’s incredible momentum. Despite appeals for a free-kick at the other end moments earlier, a lack of defensive organisation led to the equaliser; a moment which emphasised the absence of captain Ryan Shawcross and meant that the club’s maiden home point of the campaign came as little consolation.
Their quality will surely shine through soon enough, but Bournemouth are a side that come into this game commanding respect, having moved on to seven points with victory over Sunderland secured by two early goals. Wastefulness in front of goal from their struggling opponents meant things never got too anxious for them and ensured a strong response to a poor showing at Norwich City the previous week.
The incident that got everybody talking was the sublime second goal from Matt Ritchie. Those who have followed Bournemouth regularly in recent seasons will be all too aware of the Scottish international’s ability for producing the spectacular. He will be one to watch here, while Callum Wilson comes into this as the joint leading scorer in the top-flight, where he taken very little time to adapt.
Charlie Adam and Ibrahim Afellay both return for Stoke after suspension, while Mame Biram Diouf is back from injury. Shawcross might be available, and there are doubts over fellow central defender Marc Wilson.
Bournemouth are set to recall a number of players to their starting XI after they were rested for the Capital One Cup tie at Preston North End. Tommy Elphick, Max Gradel, Harry Arter and Tyrone Mings are all unavailable.