Even though Stoke City have gone against the grain they grew themselves - both of their losses in the Premier League to date have been at home, in a ground where their defence is normally stubborn - there is a window of opportunity to gain their first Britannia Stadium victory of the new season as their visitors on Monday, September 29, Newcastle United, have glaring weaknesses at the back.
That is, according to Sky Sports analyst Paul Merson, who has noted Newcastle United's 11 concessions from five games in the division to date, together with their status as club propping up the rest of the 19 teams in the table, and believes "Newcastle let in too many weak goals" to escape the trip to Stoke City with anything other than a loss.
"The Britannia Stadium is usually a fortress, but Stoke have lost both of their home games this year and could only draw at QPR last week," wrote Merson in his preview column for Sky Sports.
"However, they beat Sunderland in the League Cup and I expect them to get back on course by winning this," the former Arsenal star added.
While Stoke's home form of late has been undesirable, Stoke have won three of their last four Premier League home games against Newcastle. The Magpies have also only managed to keep one clean sheet in their last ten league matches with the Potters.
Merson concluded: "Newcastle simply let in too many weak goals, so if Stoke start well they can have this game sewn up by half-time."