Preview: Stoke v West Ham
This weekend we host the Hammers at the Bet365.
West Ham are currently lying in 14th place, just only one point behind Stoke. The last time the two sides met at the London Stadium, it finished 1-1. With Glen conceding an own goal, and Bojan equalizing.
West Ham have only won one in their last eight games, and an average of 0.94 points per away game. Since Payet’s return to France, West Ham haven’t looked as prolific in front of goal and thus, they’ve seen themselves struggling in the league recently.
Slaven Bilic’s men have the drew their last two games, Everton and Sunderland, and will be looking to capitalize on a struggling Stoke. A win for the Hammers could push them up into 9th, leap frogging us in the process. Should we be worried? Yes! West Ham are not a ‘lesser’ side, the fact they haven’t been around us in the table is a failure on their behalf. The Hammers are easily a side that should be fighting for a European Spot.
A player that could make a difference for West Ham against us, and someone not present for West Ham this season, is Andy Carroll. He’s a slight doubt for this weekend’s game, which is nice to avoid the usual Crouch vs Carrol comparison whenever we meet.
Other players facing injuries for West Ham are; Tore, Ogbonna, Antonio, Caroll. Making a possible return is Hull’s top scorer Snodgrass and Feghouli. With Snodgrass back, our full backs need to be careful to avoid giving space to this tricky winger.
As for Stoke, our injury list has dropped thankfully, with us now only being down to three injuries. Ireland, Afellay and Walters could be returning this weekend.
Last weekend’s game against Swansea was an appalling match and something needs to be done this weekend. West Ham are a side that we can beat, they’re also a side that can give us a trouncing too. Mark Hughes will need to put the performances of late to bed and try and to pick us up some points here. Given the added pressure of not salvaging a point up in Wales last week, Hughes future may well be decided this weekend if a result goes against us.
Butland will be looking to improve on what was a return to forget. I wouldn’t fault him too much. He’s been out for a year, so there were obviously nerves. It didn’t help that the back four were dreadful and it also doesn’t help that Erik Pieters is still in a Stoke shirt.
A few weeks ago, all Stoke fans were praising the new formation, as it worked against Manchester City, and if it wasn’t for Erik Pieters, against Chelsea. But now, along with being accused of not knowing his best starting XI, he’s now being accused of not knowing with formation to deploy. I would personally like to see the 4-2-3-1 we’ve been using, but with Shaq as No.10. A home game at this point in the season is a strong advantage, and Mark Hughes should allow the lads to go out there on Saturday and attack. Do whatever it takes to get those three points. Anything less is a disaster.
Written by Benito Fisher
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