In the eighteenth round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League campaign, David Moyes’ Hammers travel to face Mark Hughes’ Potters, in what is being dubbed a real Relegation six-pointer.
Stoke go into the vital affair off the back of a disappointing away defeat at the hands of Burnley on Tuesday evening, while, the Irons battled hard a day after for a London Stadium stalemate with Arsenal, poising things nicely for a feisty clash in the Midlands.
The encounter will take place this afternoon (Saturday 16 December 2017) with a kick-off time of 3 PM, as accustomed with matches starting at that time, there will be no live Television Coverage available for viewing in the United Kingdom.
However, you can catch Live Radio Commentary on TalkSport as they heavily feature the tie on Matchday Live or on BBC Radio London if you are in the Capital tomorrow afternoon, alternatively, you can be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub and find live build-up, action and reaction from the fixture.
The visit of Moyes’ boys will be held at the Potters’ relatively new home Ground of the Bet365 Stadium, formerly the Britannia Stadium, it was opened in 1997, replacing the demolished Victoria Ground.
The Arena has a capacity of just over 30,000 and its first game saw Rochdale visit in the League Cup, watched by a crowd of around 15,000, it has also hosted England U19 and U20 games.
The Stadium is currently in the midst of an expansion plan, having adopted the Bet365 namesake last year, work began in February 2017, seeing the number of fans able to fill the Ground rise well into the 30,000s.
Tomorrow afternoon will be the 14thn time that the Irons have visited the West Midlands arena, drawing 0-0 in March on the last outing there, a game that will be remembered most for the heroics of both Adrian San-Miguel and Jack Butland.
In his Pre-Stoke City Press Conference yesterday, which MooreThanJustAClub was lucky enough to attend, Hammers Boss Moyes remained coy on his injury situation.
He did confirm that Edimilson Fernandes will continue to be sidelined, along with fellow midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate, aside from that, the Scotsman has no injury problems that didn’t already exist, although Winston Reid is suspended having accumulated too many yellow cards, Marko Arnautovic is in line for a return to his former club.
Meanwhile, Hughes was a little more revealing in his own Presser, as ex-Hammer Glen Johnson remains out injured, so too fellow defender and star man at the back, Bruno Martins Indi.
Paris Saint-Germain loanee Jese Rodriguez is still unavailable for selection after an alleged walk-out, but veteran Peter Crouch is sure to be a danger man in his absence, proving in recent weeks that he can still more than pack a punch.
The teams of Stoke City and West Ham United have met an impressive 86 times in Competition Football, there have been 106 years since the first playing of this fixture.
The overall record is fairly even, the Potters have picked up 34 victories in that time, the points have been shared on 26 occasions and there have been 36 triumphs for the team in Claret & Blue, the last one coming in 2013, however.
Surely the most notable past encounter is the thrilling 1972 League Cup Semi-Final which needed four games to decide its fate, the Second Replay, a 3-2 win for Stoke at Victoria Park, was famed for Bobby Moore’s stint in goal, they would go on to win the Competition that year.
Last time out, the Hammers, then under Slaven Bilic, left the Bet365 Stadium with a point in the aforementioned goalless draw, before that, Hughes’ men visited the London stadium for the first time, Bojan cancelling out a Glenn Whelan own-goal late on.
Stoke City Football Club was founded in 1863, quite bizarrely as Stoke Ramblers FC and has managed remain one of England’s most traditional clubs ever since, having enjoyed an up and down existence.
The Staffordshire team’s biggest achievement to date came in the 2007/2008 season when they lifted the Championship Trophy to gain Promotion to the Premier League for the first time, a Division in which they’ve managed to stay since.
In terms of Major Honours, the beforementioned League Cup glory remains their only Trophy of note, their biggest claim to fame, however, is their association with England Legend Sir Stanley Matthews, who made over 300 appearances for them in the 1930s and 1960s.
Nowadays, under the former Manchester United defender Hughes, they are enduring a rocky period, sitting 13th in the Standings with many calling for the sacking of the Welshman, they’re already out of the Carabao Cup and will face Coventry City in the FA Cup Third Round.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced Select Group Referee Graham Scott will be the man in the middle this afternoon, with Richard West and Marc Perry Assisting him, and Neil Swarbrick taking up the role of Fourth Official.
So, now that the Bet365 Stadium scene is well and truly set for what promises to be a feisty encounter between two sides who desperately need points, can the hosts improve their own fortunes and ease pressure on their Manager?
Or, will Moyes’ boys triumph for the first time this season on the road and continue the revival? Think you know? Head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your score predictions and have your say in the pre-match discussion.