After a disappointing defeat away at Goodison Park at the hands of Everton, Slaven Bilic’s men are up against Stoke City, who have finally found some form in the Premier league after faltering initially. West Ham United, on the other hand, faced another defeat just as they seemed to get back into the winning groove.
West Ham are currently just one position above the relegation zone with just 10 points from the opening 10 games. Stoke City are climbing up the table and with their summer signings finally starting to fire, they will be a tough proposition for the Hammers. Although there is not much separating the two teams, both will be approaching the game with a different level of confidence.
Stoke City are full of confidence after thumping Swansea City 3-0 at home last weekend. According to stats, Stoke City are undefeated in their 6 last meetings against West Ham United, while West Ham United have managed to beat Stoke City just twice in their 12 Premier league meetings, not all that confidence inspiring.
Despite letting in 2 goals in his last match, Adrian is the best West Ham United have between the sticks and Bilic is expected to start with the Spaniard. Bad thing for him is that Stoke’s attacking players are coming into form with Wilfred Bony finding the net twice last match.
West Ham United’ defence are already shortened by injuries to left- back Arthur Masuaku with a knee injury and right back Sam Bryan with a hamstring. To add to this, Bilic now needs to be cautioned about Winston Reid, who has already got 4 yellow cards and is walking on thin ice.
Cheikhou Kouyaté will take his position on the right side of the three-man defence though it was unlocked quite frequently by Everton. Winston Reid will be starting in the centre as usual as he provides the discipline and composure to the back line and Bilic doesn’t quite have his replacement. Angelo Ogbonna will start on the left and will be expecting an improved performance this time.
With Aaron Cresswell back in the side, Bilic will stick to him as he has shown improved sharpness in attack since returning from injury. West Ham’s anchoring responsibility rests highly on Pedro Obiang and the ever dependable Mark Noble. Edmilson Fernandes is expected to start on the right.
Manuel Lanzini has been terrific this season with the only forward to get close to scoring in West Ham’s dismal front line. He will be pairing with Dmitri Payet behind the striker for all the actions in the attacking third. Simone Zaza has been hugely disappointing this season, so we could see Michail Antonio being deployed in a false nine role.
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