Hammers v Potters preview- Crunch fixture for Paul Lambert’s men

By Soccer Blog | Apr 16, 2018

The final fixture in this weekend’s round of Premiership fixtures sees Paul Lambert’s Stoke travel to London to take on David Moyes’ West Ham on Monday night. It is a must-win game for the relegation threatened Potters, who along with the “big six” and Everton, are the only Premiership clubs to have enjoyed ten consecutive seasons in the top flight. It is an equally important fixture for the Hammers, who were very much candidates for the drop themselves before four points in two games against Southampton and Chelsea gave them some breathing space.

This will also be Michael Oliver’s first game in charge since the controversial Real Madrid vs Juventus Champions League clash , when his late penalty saw the Italian giants eliminated in heartbreaking fashion after they had almost scripted a miracle comeback at the Bernabeu.

Buffon Oliver

Stoke were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham Hotspur in their last league game, with Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane netting for the visitors on either side of Mame Biram Diouf’s goal for the Potters. Goals upfront have been a big problem for Stoke, who have found the back of the net only seven times in the whole of 2018.

West Ham drew 1-1 with Chelsea, picking up an unlikely point at the Bridge against Antonio Conte’s men. They went behind to Azpilicueta’s strike, but Mexican Javier Hernandez came off the bench to net a second half equaliser for David Moyes’ men. While the Hammers are certainly better placed than the Potters in the league table, their next five games are all against top half opposition- Arsenal, Man City, Leicester, Man Utd and Everton (coached by former West Ham boss Sam Allardyce), which means that they should be expected to approach this game with the same intensity and must-win desire as their opponent.

Hernandez Chelsea

Stoke City form

Stoke 1-2 Spurs (Diouf)
Arsenal 3-0 Stoke
Stoke 1-2 Everton (Choupo-Moting)
Stoke 0-2 Man City
Southampton 0-0 Stoke

As you can see, Stoke have only scored twice in their last five games, and the scorer of one of those goals, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, will miss this clash due to a groin injury.

West Ham United form

Chelsea 1-1 West Ham (Hernandez)
West Ham 3-0 Southampton (Arnautovic*2, Joao Mario)
West Ham 0-3 Burnley
Swansea 4-1 West Ham (Antonio)
Liverpool 4-1 West Ham (Antonio)

Former Stoke player Marko Arnautovic has been in inspirational form for West Ham since the appointment of Moyes and will be keen to help his current employers do a league double over the Potters. A look at the odds on the Big Free Bet website indicates Stoke are massive underdogs- being quoted at 16/5 at the time of writing to win at the London Stadium.

As mentioned above, Michael Oliver is the man with the whistle for this game. Oliver was also the referee when Stoke last won in the league- a 2-0 triumph at home against Huddersfield back in January. He has been in charge of three Stoke league games this season and the Potters haven’t been defeated in any of them. West Ham, on the other hand, have lost both their league games this season with Oliver in the middle.

Michael Oliver

West Ham won the reverse fixture earlier this season at the Bet365 Stadium, prevailing 3-0 to pick up their first league win on the road in the 17/18 season.

West Ham v Stoke kicks off on 20.00 UK on 16 April, 2018.

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