A low-scoring draw looks the best way to go in Saturday's clash at the Olympic Stadium.
West Ham v Stoke - Saturday 15:00
West Ham will have been left feeling deflated after their defeat at Everton last week following a four game unbeaten streak that included victory over Antonio Conte’s impressive Chelsea in the League Cup. Slaven Bilic’s side have conceded fewer goals in recent weeks, but have also struggled to score too many themselves, with just three in their last five Premier League matches. The return to fitness of record signing Andre Ayew has given the Hammers a huge boost this week, and should diminish the overwhelming reliance on Dmitri Payet as the former Marseille teammates look to reunite.
Only a few weeks ago Stoke languished at the bottom of the table alongside hopeless Sunderland, but have since turned their season around and are now five points clear of the relegation zone with a superior goal difference to the bottom three. They are unbeaten in their last five, winning each of their last three, and have been handed further encouragement for the season ahead with Wilfried Bony’s first goals for the club. However, with Marko Arnautovic suspended for this game and Xherdan Shaqiri set for a spell on the sidelines with injury, some of that optimism must be curbed. They’ve failed to score in half their last 12 matches when without Shaqiri and in three of the five matches Arnautovic has missed since the start of last season.
Stoke have had the better of the recent head to head record (W3-D3), and though they appear to be the team on the up we think the absence of key players will hurt them here. There have been fewer than three goals in each of West Ham’s last four matches, and exactly two in five of Stoke’s last seven matches. Given the lack of goals, injuries to key attacking players and the head to head record, we think backing draw/under 2.5 goals offers the greatest value at 5.0.