Nov 192012

West Ham United look to continue their good form tonight against a stuttering Stoke side at Upton Park.

The Hammers, who are currently seventh in the table, are unbeaten in their last two and beat Newcastle impressively last week. Sam Allardyce is set to recall defender James Collins into his backline though, despite keeping two clean sheets in their last two games.

Matthew Taylor should also return from a calf problem but Ricardo Vaz Te and Jack Collins remain sidelined due to long-term injuries.

Stoke, meanwhile, are assessing the fitness of Jonathan Walters and Charlie Adam. Glenn Whelan was taken off for Republic of Ireland last week with a hamstring injury and so will be monitored before the trip to London.

Dean Whitehead is suspended for Tony Pulis’ side and so their options in midfield are limited somewhat.

West Ham and Stoke have two of the best defences in the league and so don’t expect a glut of goals tonight. Between them, in 22 combined games, they have only conceded 21 goals.

Allardyce’s side, particularly, are proving very difficult to break down. They kept a clean sheet in their last home match against Manchester City.

Despite beating QPR last time out, Stoke are suffering from a bad run of form. They have only scored nine goals in their 11 league matches so far, something which is really concerning Pulis. They are without an away victory in some 15 matches.

In their last five home games against Stoke in all competitions, West Ham have beaten Stoke four times and lost once. In West Ham’s last top-flight campaign, they beat Stoke 3-0 at Upton Park and drew in Staffordshire.

However, a Sam Allardyce managed club has failed to beat Stoke in their last four attempts. They, though, have only lost one league game at home so far this season, and managed to win three. Therefore, they have got 18 points from 11 matches so far this season, their equal-best points total at this stage of any Premier League season.

During their winless run away from home of 15 matches, Stoke have scored just eight goals in those fixtures. Stoke have averaged just 40.8% possession in top-flight games this season, which is the lowest in the league so far. As a result, Pulis’ side have logged just 12 points this season but this is the same figure they had at this same stage last season when they finished 14th in the table.

Written by Bradley Jolly (405)

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