West Ham will welcome Stoke City on Saturday at the Boleyn Ground in London and it will be quite a tough game for the home side. The Hammers have not been able to perform too well against the Potters in recent times and it seems that things might not be too different this time around as well. The hosts have some key players out injured, which will give the away side a huge advantage in this one.
Slaven Bilic does not have the luxury that Mark Hughes, as the latter nearly has his full squad to choose from. Some of the key players like Payet, Lanzini, Moses, Reid and Diafra Sakho are perhaps the biggest of the lot who will not be available for this one. It would really be a tough task for the home side to take anything away from the game, though if the fans really get behind them anything is possible.
Adrain has been the first choice keeper and will be expected to be at his best for this one as he will have to keep an in-form Stoke attack out. After their recent 2-0 win over Manchester City, the visitors will be quite confident that they can keep winning games with their front-line looking a major threat. The former Betis man will surely have his hands full.
Winston Reid is out injured, which would mean that Carl Jenkison should be back in the side. The Arsenal loanee should be played as the right back, with Cresswell on the left. Ogbonna and Tomkins will have to play in the center of defence and hopefully can form a solid pair against the likes of Shaqiri and Bojan. They will surely have a huge task at hand.
Victor Moses is out with a hamstring injury and in the absence of Payet, who has an ankle injury and Lanzini, who has a thigh problem, means that Bilic will once again have to employ Mark Noble in an attacking midfield role. Kouyaté and Alex Song would further be used behind Noble in the holding midfield role and their role will be quite crucial in supporting the back-line as well. Mauro Zarate would once again play up front on the left wing, while Antonio, who replaced Moses in the game against Manchester United could be back on the right.
Andy Carroll should once again start as the lone striker and it will be his job to find some early goals for his side to give them the advantage. Whether he can actually score in such a tough and high pressure game remains to be seen.