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Stoke vs West Ham: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

Martyn Cooke

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Stoke City host West Ham United at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday with both managers desperate to pick up a victory to help put a positive spin on what has been a disappointing campaign for both clubs.

Mark Hughes may have led The Potters to three consecutive top-half finishes since replacing Tony Pulis in the summer of 2013 but he has come under increasing scrutiny and pressure from the club’s supporters with the team struggling to find any consistency or form. S

toke have won just one of their previous six fixtures, a 3-1 victory against Hull City on home soil, and have failed to score in any of their last six away contests.

This will most likely result in the team finishing in the bottom-half of the Premier League and will leave Hughes with plenty of work to do in the summer to convince the club’s fan base that his side are not regressing.

Meanwhile Slaven Bilic’s team have failed to replicate the form that saw them finish in seventh place last season.

The Hammers have been hamstrung by injuries, poor form and issues surrounding their move to the Olympic Stadium whilst Dimitri Payet, their leading figure over the previous twelve months, forced through a transfer to France in controversial circumstances.

Bilic has eased the pressure in recent weeks with a three-game unbeaten run but the Croatian will have a significant task on his hands to revamp his playing squad in the summer.

Current Form

Stoke City have failed to find any consistency or form over the last couple of months and a poor run of results has seen them slip out of the top-half of the table.

The Potters have picked up just four points since mid-March and have won just one of their last seven fixtures, a 3-1 victory against Hull City a fortnight ago, whilst on the road they have gone six consecutive games without scoring.

However, Mark Hughes’ side have been relatively solid on home soil and have been beaten only twice at the Bet365 Stadium since the turn of the year, suffering defeats at the hands of Chelsea and Liverpool.

West Ham United have been consistently inconsistent all season and have failed to put together a successful unbeaten run of any real significance so far this campaign.

The Hammers have picked up just four wins in their last eighteen fixtures across all competitions but are unbeaten in their previous three contests having earned five points in total against Watford, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton.

On the road Slaven Bilic’s side have gone five games without victory which makes the prospect of travelling to the Bet365 Stadium an unappealing prospect in the grand scheme of things.

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Team News

Mark Hughes switched to a 4-4-2 formation to no avail last weekend when Stoke City were undone by Swansea City and the Welshman will have a key decision to make regarding what system he deploys on Saturday.

Central to that choice could be the selection of Saido Berahino, who has yet to score in eleven appearances since joining from West Bromwich Albion in January, and the 23-year-old could be dropped to the bench to allow Peter Crouch to play as a lone striker or may be replaced by Mame Biram Diouf.

Jack Butland made his long-awaited return from injury in South Wales and is expected to retain his place in the starting eleven whilst Marc Muniesa will be recalled if Hughes decides to switch to a back three.

Jonathan Walters will miss Saturday’s contest with a knee injury whilst long-term absentees Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland are Stoke’s only other injury concerns.

Slaven Bilic has an extensive injury list to contend with and will be sweating on the fitness of Robert Snodgrass, Andy Carroll and Sofiane Feghouli for the trip to North Staffordshire.

Pedro Obiang, Angelo Ogbonna and Michail Antonio will all be absent due to ankle, knee and hamstring issues respectively although Mark Noble is set to be recalled after serving a two match ban for accumulating ten yellow cards.

Darren Randolph was dropped to the bench last weekend and Adrian is expected to retain his place in the starting line-up after the Spanish goalkeeper was able to keep a clean sheet against Everton.

Predicted Line-Ups

Match Prediction: Stoke 1-1 West Ham

Neither team come into this fixture in fine form and although West Ham United’s three game unbeaten run has helped to ease some of the pressure on Slaven Bilic they will struggle to overcome a Stoke City team that are relatively solid on home soil.

Having said that, Mark Hughes’ side have suffered an alarming run of form that has the potential to scupper any hopes that the Welshman had of guiding the club to a fourth successive top-half finish. Neither side look capable of securing a victory, so we predict a draw.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

Bournemouth

Tottenham Hotspur vs Bournemouth: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

Rob Meech

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Tottenham Hotspur head into tomorrow’s clash with struggling Bournemouth still searching for their first Premier League victory at Wembley Stadium. Much as been made about Spurs’ hoodoo at the national stadium, where they are temporarily based while construction continues on their new ground.

Mauricio Pochettino‘s charges have dropped more points at ‘home’ so far this season than in the entirety of the last campaign. However, they take on a Bournemouth outfit that have collected four points and are above only Crystal Palace in the league standings.

Recent form

Despite their difficulties at Wembley, Tottenham are unbeaten in the top-flight since August and sit third in the table with 14 points from seven matches. Their demolition of Huddersfield Town before the international break, in which the in-form Harry Kane netted a brace, highlighted their ability to crush opponents.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe will be acutely aware of the task facing his side. The Cherries have a terrible record against Spurs since being promoted to the Premier League and have yet to gain a single point on their travels this term.

Team news

Pochettino has no fresh injury concerns and could be boosted by the return of Mousa Dembele, who has recovered from a foot problem. Victor Wanyama is still sidelined with a knee injury, though. Harry Winks, who impressed on his England debut, is set to retain his place in the starting XI. Long-term absentees Danny Rose and Erik Lamela are several weeks away from first team action.

Howe’s line-up will depend on whether striker Joshua King passes a fitness test after suffering a tight hamstring for Norway. Ryan Fraser and Brad Smith are both poised to miss out, after suffering knocks during the international break. Callum Wilson has been continuing his recuperation by getting minutes under his belt for the Under-23s.

Predicted line-ups

Match prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Bournemouth

Spurs have thrashed Bournemouth in the two fixtures between the clubs at White Hart Lane – and a change of venue is unlikely to bring the Cherries better fortune. If at their best, Howe’s side can at least give Tottenham something to think about and prey on the anxiety they have experienced at Wembley. However, with no away form to speak of, Spurs look set to be too strong.

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Liverpool

Liverpool vs Manchester United: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

Rob Meech

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The two most successful clubs in the history of English football will resume hostilities tomorrow, when Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield. It is a mouth-watering return to the Premier League following the international break, which sees Jose Mourinho’s side put their unbeaten start to the season on the line. The atmosphere is sure to be electric for Saturday’s early kick-off and victory for the hosts would bring them to within four points of their fierce rivals.

Recent form

With only one win from their past four top-flight outings, Liverpool’s form has stalled somewhat after a bright start. Scoring goals has not been a problem for Jurgen Klopp’s men – but in contrast, no club in the top half has shipped more. It is these defensive shortcomings which have been to blame for too many dropped points.

United meanwhile, have been mightily impressive, taking 19 points from 21. For all their attacking flair, they have also been watertight in defence, with the only goals they have conceded coming in the 2-2 draw away to Stoke City.

Team news

Klopp has been left reeling from the news that key player Sadio Mane has been ruled out from up to two months after injuring his hamstring during the international break, which means Daniel Sturridge may keep his place in attack. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are edging towards a return, although no date has yet been set.

United have selection problems of their own and will be without Marouane Fellaini, who suffered damage to his knee while playing for Belgium. Paul Pogba, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Marcus Rojo all remain sidelined.

Predicted line-ups

Match prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United

Mourinho is a master tactician whose game-plan will be to keep it tight and frustrate Liverpool. Klopp’s team are more than capable of ruining his approach however, although Mane’s absence is a huge blow. The first goal will be crucial in deciding the outcome.

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Burnley

Everton vs Burnley: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

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Everton will look to record just their third Premier League win of the season when a high-flying Burnley take the short trip across the north west to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.

Sean Dyche’s side have started the year in impressive fashion, losing just once in their opening six matches, and they’ll provide another stern test for an Everton side that are struggling to grind out results.

Yet Ronald Koeman will hope his side’s comeback victory over Bournemouth last time out can add some inspiration around Merseyside and kick-start a season that hasn’t got going just yet.

Recent Form

Despite spending over £100million during the summer on some well-known names, Everton have found it difficult to convert that into results on the pitch with just two wins from their first six league games.

Consecutive defeats against Chelsea (2-0), Tottenham (3-0) and Manchester United (4-0) had dampened spirits around Goodison somewhat but they secured a much-needed win last week against the Cherries.

Their Europa League adventure hasn’t quite gone to plan either, losing heavily away at Atalanta before being held at home by Cypriot minnows Apollon Limassol to leave them at the bottom of Group E.

The visitors have fared a little better so far this season, only losing the once against West Brom, and they’ve already surprised a few by drawing with Liverpool and Tottenham and seeing off Chelsea.

They’ll arrive on Merseyside with a fine away record too, unbeaten in their first three matches – all three of which ironically were against these top-six contenders – and they’ll want to extend the run.

Team News

Ronald Koeman could be without the services of both Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane after the defensive duo missed out on the draw with Apollon Limassol through respective injury problems.

That could see young Mason Holgate drafted into the centre of defence alongside Ashley Williams, with Everton potentially reverting to a four-man defensive system to cater for their lengthy injury list.

There’s little to report for Burnley ahead of Sunday’s clash, although Jonathan Walters could be in contention for a spot on the bench after recovering from an ongoing ligament problem in his ankle.

Predicted Line-Ups

Match Prediction; Everton 2-1 Burnley

Ronald Koeman will be desperate to see a reaction from his team after their disappointing late set-back against ten-man Apollon on Thursday, and he will want to make it two wins from two in the league.

But it certainly won’t be an easy task against a disciplined Burnley team, who have only conceded five goals all season despite facing a tough run of away games against Premier League title contenders.

Oumar Niasse is in-line for a start after his starring role in the win last weekend and his presence could lift a depleted Everton side, and whilst it won’t be a stroll in the park the hosts should nick a close affair.

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