The Premier League’s two battering rams will be at loggerheads at Upton Park when West Ham face Stoke, though there is surely only to be one winner despite the similarities both teams share.
Sam Allardyce’s Hammers are a very generous 1/1 to beat a Stoke side bereft of wins and goals on the road. It’s no surprise to see them as long as 11/4 to win against a team they would’ve regarded as their inferior prior to the season’s commencement.
With a hat-trick of home games to come against Chelsea then the red and blue halves of Merseyside, respectively, the east Londoners will be placing an onus on victory ahead of bigger challenges on the horizon.
Nine goals is all their next adversaries have managed home and away this term and have found the net just twice in their last four away days, drawing three blanks in that time.
Tony Pulis would gladly take a point back to the Potteries bearing this in mind, along with the fact they are yet to pick up three points away from home.
He could get his wish given the equivalent, no-thrills style both teams endorse; there is a distinct danger of them cancelling each other out which brings the draw into play at 23/10.
It’s fair to say the game will be won and lost in the air which is what tips the scales in the host’s favour.
Both are well-drilled, disciplined units and are experts at dealing with aerial balls but, in Andy Carroll, West Ham have a monster in their ranks whose power makes him more than a match for even the biggest centre half bruiser.
Although he’s yet to open his Upton Park account, Carroll can be backed at 5/1 to net the opener here, whereas he’s 6/5 to bag at any time – both are good bets as this game is made for the Geordie to shine.
Stoke’s answer is the weedier, scrawnier Peter Crouch who, granted, is the more technically astute of the two, but a far easier ride for central defenders when it comes to a good, old tussle.
His 2/1 any time goalscorer price is one to ignore – the West Ham stoppers will be relieved at the prospect of facing him after handling Carroll all week on the training pitch.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date