Philipp Wollscheid has warned Stoke City not to rest on their laurels as they prepare to welcome away-day specialists Crystal Palace to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
Stoke have picked up 10 points from their last five Premier League matches, with their only defeat in that run of games coming at the hands of struggling Sunderland.
However, since the 2-0 reverse at the Stadium of Light on November 28, Mark Hughes’ side have kept three successive clean sheets in all competitions.
Now Stoke face opponents who have picked up 13 points in seven games on their travels this season, including recording impressive league wins at Chelsea and Liverpool.
“We know that we have to improve and we will be looking to do that against Crystal Palace,” defender Wollscheid told the club’s official website.
“There is an onus on all players to help out defensively – it isn’t just down to us as defenders, whilst at the same time it is down to all of us to help out offensively too.
“We want to score goals and help out the players in attack. It’s more important for us as a team to win matches than it is to keep a clean-sheet. If we can achieve both in the same game then that is perfect.”
The home side will hope to have Xherdan Shaqiri back – the Switzerland international missed the 0-0 draw at West Ham last time out due to a hamstring strain.
However, Hughes will definitely be without Geoff Cameron. The defender also has a hamstring problem, though it is hoped he could be fit to face Manchester United on December 26.
As for Palace, Alan Pardew has his team sitting pretty in sixth place. The London club are just three points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, but are also the same number clear of Stoke, who are occupying 11th spot.
“We are going to have to win on Saturday to secure our sixth-place position for the time being. We are focused on our job,” Pardew said.
“Stoke City will be a very attacking team, with a lot of flair. They will need to worry about us, though.”
Bakary Sako and Mile Jedinak are ruled out for Palace with hamstring and ankle injuries respectively.
Key Opta stats:
– The side scoring first has only gone on to win once in the four previous Premier League meetings between Stoke and Crystal Palace.
– As well as making the joint-most saves (67 – alongside Costel Pantilimon) in the Premier League this season, Jack Butland has the best saves-to-shots ratio (82.7 per cent).
– Crystal Palace are the only side to have not been behind at half-time in a Premier League game this season (winning three and drawing 13 at half-time).
– Stoke City’s 16 Premier League games this season have produced just 27 goals; a league-low.
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