Stoke vs West Ham
Stoke claimed what could prove to be a valuable point last weekend as they drew 1-1 with Norwich thanks to a Jonathan Walters penalty with moved the Potters into 12th position.
Big frontmen will potentially have a huge say in the outcome of this game, with Peter Crouch at one end and Andy Carroll at the other. Crouch has been key to Stoke’s attack this term so expect him to feature prominently again this weekend and look to test out the Hammers’ defence. He leads the Potter’s squad for total shots on goal this term with 41 and expect plenty of balls to be whipped in towards the big centre forward on Saturday. Crouch is 2/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Erik Pieters remains one of Stoke’s standout defensive performers this term, his enthusiasm for his work at the back seeing him compile some impressive statistics. He leads the Stoke squad so far this campaign for attempted tackles with 122, winning a solid 68% of them.
Fellow defender Geoff Cameron has also been highly impressive this season, his reading of the game in particular being exceptional. No Stoke player can top his record of 71 interceptions according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Shutting down Kevin Nolan’s ability to dictate the play for West Ham will likely be vital to Stoke’s gameplan this weekend which could mean some extra defensive work for Charlie Adam. Adam has certainly not been shy of getting stuck in this season, attempting a solid 74 tackles and winning 55.4% of them.
West Ham fell to a 1-0 defeat to Everton last time out in the league, with Sam Allardyce lamenting his side’s lack of threat in the final third after the game. He will be looking for a response from his players this weekend though in what is always a tough trip for any side to the Brittania.
James Collins may well have his hands full this weekend, the big centre-half likely being tasked with handling the threat of Peter Crouch. The Welshman is more than up to the job though, as shown by some of his EA SPORTS Player Performance Index statistics. He’s racked up a squad-best 218 clearances, as well as winning 76.3% of his 59 attempted challenges this term.
If Cardiff want to get any kind of attack going this weekend, they will likely first have to go through Gary Medel. The combative Chilean has been in outstanding defensive form this season, winning an excellent 92.7% of his 41 attempted tackles. This puts him behind only Manchester Utd’s Chris Smalling for the highest success rate for players to have attempted 16 or more tackles.
Andy Carroll may have missed large parts of the season due to injury but since his return to the first team he has begun to look more like his old self again. He is always a danger given the unique physical proposition he poses and has not been shy in letting fly on goal when the opportunity has presented itself. He’s taken an average of just 23 minutes to have a shot on goal this season. Carroll is an industry best 31/10 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Key to Carroll’s resurgence could be the form of Stewart Downing, the winger capable of swinging in the kind of balls which Carroll just loves to get his head to. He leads the Hammers squad so far this season for crosses delivered with 34 and his striker colleague will be keen to see this number continue to rise.