West Ham United vs Stoke City pre-match analysis: Potters look to deal another hammer blow

Stoke City take on West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday with Stoke looking it to make it four wins on the bounce.

West Ham United vs Stoke City pre-match analysis: Potters look to deal another hammer blow
West Ham United V Stoke City pre match analysis: Potters look to deal another hammer blow

Stoke City travel down to London in search of their fourth successive victory in the league following one of their worst starts in Premier League history as they take on West Ham United on Saturday.

A win could take the Potters as high as eighth should results go in their favour, a remarkable turnaround for a club who were nearly staring relegation in the face.

Potters confidence sky high

Marko Arnautovic, Ramadan Sobhi and Charlie Adam celebrate as Alfie Mawson scores an own goal during the Premier League match against Swansea City. | Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Marko Arnautovic, Ramadan Sobhi and Charlie Adam celebrate as Alfie Mawson scores an own goal during the Premier League match against Swansea City. | Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Mark Hughes’ men will be brimming with confidence following a 3-1 victory over Swansea City on Halloween, whilst last time out West Ham got swept aside by an in-form Everton side 2-0. The hosts currently sit one place above the relegation zone after struggling to reach the heights they met last season, with the London Stadium and its troubles making more headlines than the Hammers themselves.

Winger woes

Marko Arnautovic battles with Neil Taylor during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Swansea City. |  Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Marko Arnautovic battles with Neil Taylor during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Swansea City. | Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Marko Arnautovic will be absent from the weekend’s match after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Swansea. The Austrian can feel hard done by, however, after Michael Oliver wrongly booked the winger for a fair, ball winning challenge. A decision that angered Hughes and fans alike. Arnautovic will be a huge miss for a Stoke side that notoriously struggle for goals. The winger contributed 12 goals last season, the second highest scoring winger, only behind Riyad Mahrez.

Ramadan Sobhi celebrates as his shot leads to an own goal by Alfie Mawson. | Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Ramadan Sobhi celebrates as his shot leads to an own goal by Alfie Mawson. | Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

However, this does the open the door for Ramadan Sobhi, the 19-year-old winger will be hopeful of starting his first Premier League game after an excellent 70-minute cameo after coming on for the injured Xherdan Shaqiri. The Egyptian who is closely followed in his home country, created Stoke’s second goal of the game against the Swans, the ball looked to be going of its own accord before Alfie Mawson diverted it into his own net. Sobhi is the perfect fit to replace Arnautovic on the left-hand side of the forward three.

It is unknown yet if Shaqiri will be fit to face West Ham after coming off with a tight hamstring last time out. This is causing yet more injury and selection headaches for Hughes, with who he chooses to replace him, should he not make the side.

There are three players who could slot in down the right-hand side, Mame Biram Diouf, Jonathan Walters or the more unorthodox option of Bojan. All three offer something different to the side, Diouf for his pace, Walters for his remarkable work rate and Bojan for his excellent technical ability, all three can be trusted to do a job down the right flank.

Bony finds the net 

Wilfried Bony scored two goals against former club Swansea City on Monday night. | Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Wilfried Bony scored two goals against former club Swansea City on Monday night. | Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Wilfried Bony finally broke his goalscoring duck, with a brace against former club Swansea. Bony's arrival in Stoke-on-Trent has seen an upturn in Stoke's fortunes, with the Ivory Coast striker seemingly been the missing piece in Mark Hughes' puzzle. The frontman has put in multiple good performances since joining, but has not been able to find the net. This changed against Swansea and would of filled the striker full of confidence going into the weekend's fixture. If Bony has his shooting boots on regularly he could be the 20 goals a season striker the club and fans have searched for since promotion to the top flight.