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West Ham v Stoke Preview

West Ham v Stoke Preview

I must confess that Monday night games are not my cup of tea!

Sitting around all weekend, twiddling the thumbs, is a bane and something, in all honesty, I could do without.

However, the television companies rule the roost and we jump, nowadays, to their particular tune.

But, still carping on, does a fixture involving Stoke City stand much chance of enticing viewers to tune in?

As a Hammer I`d reckon it could but think of it from a neutral`s point of view, especially those poor souls who are tormented, courtesy of their wives, with an abundance of soap operas on a Monday evening.

Nevertheless, whilst the two teams who got automatically promoted from the Championship (Southampton and Reading) continue to struggle in the relegation zone, we`re in the wonderful position of knowing that a win, against Tony Pulis` side, will catapult us to 5th in the Premier League, who`d have thought that back in the days when it really was do-or-die against Blackpool, at Wembley, in May.

There`s no doubting that Big Sam has done well, his unique style of management has served us well and with an offer of a new contract, supposedly, on the table, in January Sam is honest enough to admit that his style doesn`t convince everybody, remarking ahead of the clash,

"I don`t suppose you ever win over all the fans, I`ve never won over every fan I`ve worked for. What really matters is we`re selling out. People are enjoying watching us."

"The fans stayed with us against City because they understood we couldn`t be quite as adventurous as we might have been against Fulham and Sunderland."

Our form going into this fixture is good, a 0-0 draw at home to the current champions (Manchester City) followed by a win up at Newcastle would suggest that we shouldn`t fear a physical Stoke City side described as 'jolly green giants` by Sir Alex Ferguson recently.

But to dismiss Stoke would be foolish, they`re a tough, uncompromising side that give very little away and have some strong characters, in the side, that could provide us with a few problems,

Amongst their ranks are two ex-Hammers in Matthew Upson (remember him?) and Matthew Etherington, although we doubt if both will actually feature; up front they have Peter Crouch (always fancied his wife) who is always capable of the unexpected and a decent keeper in Begovic.

But form, on the road, doesn`t bode well for Stoke. The Potteries side haven`t won away from home since January 2nd, a run of 16 matches whilst The Hammers have only lost 2 in 18 this year at home.

Therefore, I`m going for a home win with the roof being lifted clear-off when Andy Carroll nets the winner; remember where you read it first.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Monday November 19 2012
Time: 4:36PM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Man City 9 6 2 1 20 11
2 Arsenal 9 6 2 1 20 10
3 Liverpool 9 6 2 1 20 9
4 Chelsea 9 6 1 2 19 10
5 Spurs 9 5 4 0 19 9
6 Everton 9 4 3 2 15 5
7 Man Utd 9 4 2 3 14 1
8 Southampton 9 3 4 2 13 3
9 Watford 9 3 3 3 12 0
10 AFC Bournemouth 9 3 3 3 12 0
11 Crystal Palace 9 3 2 4 11 0
12 Leicester City 9 3 2 4 11 -4
13 WBA 9 2 4 3 10 0
14 Burnley 9 3 1 5 10 -5
15 West Ham 9 3 1 5 10 -7
16 Stoke 9 2 3 4 9 -7
17 Middlesbrough 9 1 4 4 7 -4
18 Hull City 9 2 1 6 7 -14
19 Swansea 9 1 2 6 5 -7
20 Sunderland 9 0 2 7 2 -10
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