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Hammers preview

West Ham
vs.
Stoke City

Upton Park

27th March 2010

3pm

Stoke travel to London and a tricky tie at Upton Park. The Hammers were thumped 3-1 by Wolves in midweek and the recriminations are now well underway in anticipation of a drop into the relegation zone which could make it doubly difficult for the Potters as Hammers' boss, Zola needs a win to save his job and avoid a further possible drop to the Championship. Stoke are without a win in four matches as we struggle to reach the magical 40 points, so a win for us will as good as cement our Premier League status for next season.

Vital Quotes:

Zola knows that this is one he has to win: 'It is a very important game, we have to win. Everybody at the club is focused on winning the game. We have to win the game as a team. It is the most important thing. Honestly, trust me everyone wants to give 200 per cent but it has to be in the right way.'

Expect chants of 'you'll be sacked in the morning' from the Potters fans if things go our way.

West Ham Team News:

All the pre-match talk is around the future of Gianfranco Zola and it can never help when even your Chairman is also publicly attacking the team's performance.

West Ham forward Guillermo Franco misses out with an Achilles injury and defender James Tomkins is sidelined with an ankle problem. Defender, Manuel da Costa is available after suspension, while Danny Gabbidon and Kieron Dyer are both fit again.

Player to watch: Robert Green

Green is likely to be England's first choice keeper at the upcoming World Cup and will be opposite the Danes' World Cup keeper in the shape of our very own Thomas Sorensen.

Stoke City Team News:

Stoke are without Dean Whitehead after the dreadful performance from Mike Dean last week. Ryan Shawcross is still struggling with an ankle injury, but Tony Pulis is hopeful he'll be fit. James Beattie is definitely out for the rest of the season after undergoing an knee operation.

Player to watch: Matthew Etherington

The former Hammers' player has gone from strength to strength since leaving the bright lights and bookies of east London. He now seems to be more than happy to commit his long term future to the Potters and will relish the chance to turn out against his former club.

Match Facts & Stats

Ref Watch:

Andre Marriner. Come on. Let's hope for at least one decent ref.

Next Fixtures:

Saturday 3rd April: Hull (home) kick-off: 3pm
Sunday 11th April: Wolves (away) kick-off: 12 noon


Writer:Chris Baldwin
Date:Saturday March 27 2010
Time: 12:10PM

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League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Chelsea 33 25 3 5 78 40
2 Spurs 33 22 8 3 74 47
3 Liverpool 34 19 9 6 66 28
4 Man City 32 19 7 6 64 28
5 Man Utd 32 17 12 3 63 26
6 Arsenal 32 18 6 8 60 24
7 Everton 34 16 10 8 58 23
8 WBA 33 12 8 13 44 -3
9 Southampton 32 11 7 14 40 -5
10 Watford 33 11 7 15 40 -17
11 Stoke 34 10 9 15 39 -13
12 Crystal Palace 34 11 5 18 38 -8
13 AFC Bournemouth 34 10 8 16 38 -14
14 West Ham 34 10 8 16 38 -15
15 Leicester City 33 10 7 16 37 -13
16 Burnley 34 10 6 18 36 -16
17 Hull City 34 9 6 19 33 -31
18 Swansea 34 9 4 21 31 -29
19 Middlesbrough 34 5 12 17 27 -19
20 Sunderland 33 5 6 22 21 -33
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