Ipswich Town host Stoke City on Saturday, with both sides looking to collect another three points after showing promise in round one. Recently promoted Ipswich are favourites ahead of the tie, potentially due to their incredible run of form towards the end of the League One season. The two clubs most recently met in the 2018/19 Championship campaign, where Stoke claimed four points, winning at home, and drawing 1-1 at Portman Road.
The Tractor Boys started their return to the Championship with a vital 2-1 win against Sunderland last Sunday who were competing in the promotion playoffs just a few months ago. Kieran McKenna will hope that his side can follow a similar trajectory to the Black Cats previous campaign, in terms of challenging for a place in the top flight despite only just being promoted. It was a heated encounter with yellow cards galore, however Ipswich actually started the game quite slowly and they were lucky to go into the break with a 1-0 lead, thanks to Nathan Broadhead. The goal scorer then became the creator, as the Welsh forward set up George Hirst, doubling their advantage. Sunderland continued to apply pressure even after Trai Hume’s 72nd minute second yellow, but McKenna will be pleased that his side held on for three points.
We should see yet another attack orientated game on Saturday but Ipswich could move away from the counter attacking football they displayed last week. McKenna has created a 4-2-3-1 system that out of possession is very structured, but when in possession they are very fluid with emphasis on attacking wide areas. The Tractor Boys will continue to play out from the back and take calculated risks when on the ball.
The Potters are currently the joint highest scoring team in the Championship after round one, as they completely dominated Rotherham United 4-1 at the Bet365 Stadium. Stoke showed intent from the first whistle and opened the scoring just five minutes later via Ki-Jana Hoever. The scoreline looked set to be 1-0 at halftime, yet Andre Vidigal had other ideas, scoring a quickfire brace within the space of five minutes. Second half Rotherham substitute, Lee Peltier, scored in the 46th minute but the visitors momentum was cut short by two Cafu yellow cards. Jacob Brown then capped off a brilliant victory by adding Stoke’s fourth in the 90th minute and Alex Neil’s side made the perfect start to the season.
Similarly to Ipswich, Stoke have shown their attacking capabilities over the last week and they have racked up 34 shots across their two recent games against Rotherham and West Brom, who they beat 2-1 in the EFL Cup. This forward thinking approach isn’t expected to change at the weekend, however we are yet to see Alex Neil’s side on the road this season and the boss may have a alternative plan of action for when they don’t have the home advantage. New signing, Vidigal, has impressed in his first two appearances, scoring three times already and he seems to be the player to look for when the side needs a goal.
Portman Road will be a sell-out on Saturday for Ipswich’s first home game of the season and considering they are one of the most in-form teams in Europe, it is difficult to picture a Stoke victory. The game should see goals, with both teams scoring looking likely yet with the crowd behind them, Ipswich may just steal all three points.
The final prediction is Ipswich Town 2-1 Stoke City.