Stoke City travel to Upton Park looking for their 50th premier league win after their promotion in 2008.
Tony Pulis’ side will be trying to do something they haven’t achieved since the latter stages of last season in their search of the landmark; win away from the Britannia Stadium. Stoke haven’t managed a victory in their last 15 league fixtures away from home, scoring just eight goals in the process.
During this campaign their record stands at lost three, drawn three on the road and they will be hoping to put this right on Monday against this seasons surprise package West Ham who currently sit in sixth.
Both the Hammers and the Potters won their previous games 1-0 against Newcastle and QPR respectively and both will want to continue their winning ways.
West Ham’s fortunes at home are very different to Stoke’s away form, having only lost once this season, going down 3-1 against Arsenal in October. They will be pushing for all three points on Monday as their following four games give them the daunting prospect of Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Stoke’s problem hasn’t been the defending, having the joint best defence in the league with champions Manchester City, conceding just 10 goals, four of them coming at Old Trafford. The problem has been going forward only bagging nine, and with West Ham only shipping one more goal than the visitors this season, Monday’s affair could be a low scoring one.
But both strikers will want to prove a point after being left out of Roy Hodgson’s England squad. Many believe England need a Peter Crouch or an Andy Carroll but there is only room for one. In a fixture bringing two of the toughest defences up against each other, is there a better place to put your case forward?
Neither manager will have a full squad at their disposal; Sam Allardyce is still without Ricardo Vaz Te who dislocated his shoulder during the defeat to Arsenal back in October and Jack Collison is out with a knee problem.
There are fresh injury worries for Pulis; Glenn Whelan is waiting the results of a scan after he limped off for the Republic of Ireland against Greece in midweek, while Charlie Adam and Jon Walters should make the trip despite picking up niggles. Marc Wilson (broken leg) and Rory Delap (hernia) are definitely out and Michael Owen (hamstring) remains a doubt. Dean Whitehead is also going to miss the game at Upton Park with his second suspension of the season, after he picked up his fifth yellow card in the game against QPR.
With both defences in their current good form and the lack of goals at the other end, the game has got a 1-1 draw written all over it.
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