West Ham will square off with Stoke City at the London Stadium on Saturday.
This promises to be one of the more unpredictable encounters heading into the weekend. West Ham had found a semblance of form before a disappointing and lethargic defeat to Palace. They have finally started to embrace the London Stadium and will be desperate to get back into European contention.
Mark Hughes’ side were excellent against Swansea and have finally managed to extricate themselves from the slump they were in. Joe Allen has been revelatory in midfield and could be a key figure as the Potters attempt to move further up the table.
English Premier League | Saturday 5 November | London Stadium | 17:00
To Win (90 Mins)
West Ham 1/1 | Draw 5/2 | Stoke City 26/10
Aaron Cresswell will return to the starting line-up, giving the Hammers far more width and dynamism. Essentially, Stoke play a fairly narrow brand of football, eager to utilize their physical superiority in one on one encounters.
West Ham use far more width, which is actually kind of ideal with the broader London Stadium expanse. Dimitri Payet is their maverick, clearly: the type of player who can change the course of a game with one magical sleight of hand.
I feel that West Ham may be a bit weak at the core. Cheikhou Kouyate and Mark Noble hardly inspire gigantic confidence in the heart of midfield. Watching Stoke against Swansea, I was struck by how dynamic and hard working their midfielders were.
Charlie Adam looked reinvigorated and dominated the middle of the park. West Ham, to me, look a little lightweight in the centre of the park. Additionally, in the absence of Andy Carroll they lack a focal point to their attack.
Stoke will be without Marko Arnautovic as he picked up a suspension on Monday. That is rather unfortunate because he really encapsulates the side. They will probably bring Giannelli Imbula into the side to try and offset Arnautovic’s loss.
Bojan Krkic is probably slightly too small to naturally come into this rugged team. Hughes has seemed reticent to utilize veterans Peter Crouch or Jonathan Walters thus far this season.
Martins-Indi and Ryan Shawcross took some time to galvanize, but the pair are starting to look more and more formidable. Allen’s ability to arrive in the box has been instrumental for Stoke while Bony’s goal last week will have to have giving the beleaguered Ivorian some confidence.
Erik Pieters and Phil Bardsley provide such a reassuring sense of stability in the fullback areas. I was really impressed with Glenn Whelan and Adam on Monday night and I expect the pair to dominate the likes of Manuel Lanzini and Noble.
Verdict: Stoke City (26/10)
I feel that Stoke can become real European contenders with another victory this weekend.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets