West Ham United vs. Stoke City Soccer Pick: Battle for the Eight Position in Premier League

Lee Phelps

Friday, April 10, 2015 12:03 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 10, 2015 12:03 PM GMT

You won't hear any promos for the Battle For Eighth in the Premier League, but that's what this is. William Hill's Lee Phelps is looking at who is most motivated & the best odds for his betting pick.

Two mid-table teams go into the weekend with eight position on their minds. West Ham welcome Stoke with both locked on 42 points, but the Hammers have a six goal superior difference. Soccer betting odds opened favoring the home team at +130 for this fixture.

 

West Ham
The omens aren’t great for Sam Allardyce’s men, they’re without a win in three against the Potters, losing two and drawing the other. Their form isn’t great full stop, with one win in 10 now (D3 L5) which has coincided with a dip in form from Stewart Downing. Ten of the 13 league goals he was involved in came pre-New Year.

Downing has been talking about this weekend’s game and the return of one of the men who made the first half of the season so good.

"It was a difficult one when we played at Stoke and we got a draw out of it, but we're at home now and I think Enner's back for the weekend. Diafra [Sakho] is there too so we can have a right good go at them and get the goal scorers back in the team.

"It was a good game for me when we played earlier in the season, scoring one and setting Enner up too. It was a game of two halves – in the first half we were poor and didn't get going, but in the second half we were really good.

"We need to get back to winning ways on Saturday because we don't want the season to tail off – we want to finish as strongly as we can."

West Ham have scored only two goals in their last four matches, so Downing sees Valencia's comeback as a timely boost with Andy Carroll on the side lines due to a knee injury.

He added: "He's a goal threat. He's got pace, he's powerful and he's a threat to the other team. I thought he played ever so well, especially in the second half, at Stoke. Their defenders will know they're in for a game.
 
"Him and Sakho have been a good partnership when Andy's been out so it'll be interesting what team the manager picks but I'm sure he’ll be in his thoughts and it's nice to have him back.

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Stoke City
Mark Hughes has lost only one of his last 10 Premier League encounters with Sam Allardyce (W6 D3), so he’ll be looking forward to locking horns with Big Sam.

You can expect to see Victor Moses back for this game, the Potters have won twice as many games when the Chelsea loanee has started than when he hasn't.

Charlie Adam may be rewarded for his superb goal with a place on the bench, because in truth he was average for the rest of the game.

“The game is certainly a winnable one and while many clubs in the league are said to have nothing left to play for, it's not an assertion that can be levelled at Stoke. The last few results have been poor but there has been little sign of the players' attentions being elsewhere and in the Chelsea match some of the defending was as if their lives depended on it. That urgency and willing will be needed if they are to leave east London victorious,” writes Andy Bunn in the local Stoke newspaper.

 

Soccer pick
Although both will want a win here, I’m looking at share of the points for my soccer pick. West Ham have lost that early season impetus and will be keen not to lose, while Stoke often struggle to capitalise on the good play by turning it into goals.

Free Soccer Pick: Draw 3.4 (12/5)

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