Premier League: Match preview Stoke City v West Ham United
A look ahead to this weekend's fixture at the Britannia Stadium
Saturday 15 March 2014
Sam Allardyce and West Ham head to fortress Britannia on Saturday looking to all but secure Premier League football for next season. After an injury-plagued first half of the campaign that saw the visitors flirt dangerously with relegation, a string of solid performances built on the foundation of a defence that rarely concedes has seen them rise to the lofty heights of 10th level on points with this weekend’s opponents.
David Gold and David Sullivan stuck by their manager during a period of uncertainty at Upton Park and have been rewarded for their loyalty – the Hammers have picked up 13 points of the last 18 available – and a second consecutive top-half finish will be firmly in their sights.
Despite Stoke’s home form this year, West Ham have an impressive record at their ground having only lost once in four visits. Jack Collison netted the winner in this fixture last term, and another successful return will see them stretch three clear of Mark Hughes’ men.
On the other hand, Stoke will be looking to do the same and having already beaten Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal on home soil this season, a continuation of results like that at the Britannia could well see Hughes guide the Potters to a top-10 finish in his first season in charge.
They’re in impressive form themselves, only tasting defeat once in their last six domestically, and after victory in east London earlier on this campaign they’ll be looking to secure their first league double over the Hammers since their return to the English top flight in 2008.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
West Ham 0-1 Stoke (Pennant), Premier League
Stoke 0-1 West Ham (Collison). Premier League
West Ham (O’Brien) 1-1 Stoke (Walters), Premier League
West Ham have conceded just one goal and kept three clean sheets in their last four Premier League away outings
However, in the season’s corresponding fixture, the Hammers didn’t manage a single shot on target
Only five teams have picked up more points at home than Stoke this season
Stoke have lost just one of their last 11 at home
The visitors have lost just one of their four games at the Britannia Stadium
Stoke to win: 2.25
West Ham to win: 3.6
TV: Highlights on BBC One, 10.30pm Saturday
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener 'fights for his life'
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund player ratings: Who was the star man at the Emirates? Alexis Sanchez? Santi Cazorla? Or Yaya Sanogo?
Phil Hughes: A swashbuckling, raw and talented batsman who had the world at his feet
Phil Hughes dead: List of players who have tragically died on the cricket pitch
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund report: Yaya Sanogo and Alexis Sanchez are on target as Gunners secure impressive victory
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 2 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 3 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 5 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'