Stoke v West Ham - Match preview and team news
The Britannia plays host to two of the Premier League’s out-of-form sides as Stoke, who have only taken one victory from eight league games, entertain a West Ham side that have only won two out of their last 12 league encounters.
Potters boss Tony Pulis will still be satisfied at his side’s current league standing, which sees them comfortably in mid-table but will be keen to avoid a poor end to a season that at times has promised so much. The Welshman will be particularly keen to keep up his side’s impressive home record, which has just begun to slip of late.
However, he will have to do so without key central-defender Robert Huth, who begins a three match suspension for elbowing Fulham’s Philippe Senderos in the Potters’ 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage last week. Elsewhere, Stoke have doubts over Matthew Etherington and Michael Owen, who will undergo fitness tests on back and thigh problems respectively. However, Steven N’Zonzi looks set to declare himself available to play, despite suffering a broken nose at Fulham.
While West Ham remain six points clear of the drop zone, Sam Allardyce will be increasingly worried by the lethargic displays being shown by his players of late, who simply seem incapable of keeping clean sheets.
The visitors will be without captain Kevin Nolan, who has a broken toe while central-midfield partner Mark Noble may miss out again with the same arm problem that kept him out of the 3-2 home defeat to a Gareth Bale-inspired Tottenham. Elsewhere, Guy Demel is fit to play while up front, Allardyce looks set to continue with the in-form pairing of Andy Carroll supported by a revitalised Joe Cole.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Stoke v West Ham