Stoke City match preview

Stoke City v West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
Britannia Stadium
Saturday 18 September 2010
Kick-off: 12.45pm
Referee: Lee Mason




• West Ham United travel to Stoke City for their fifth Barclays Premier League match of the 2010/11 season.

• The Hammers are aiming to kick-start their season after tasting defeat in each of their opening four Premier League fixtures. An opening-day reverse at Aston Villa (0-3) was followed by a disappointing home reverse against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday 21 August (1-3), a loss at Manchester United on Saturday 28 August (0-3) and a closely-fought home defeat by champions Chelsea last Saturday (1-3). Avram Grant's side also defeated Oxford United (1-0) in the Carling Cup second round to set up a third-round trip to Sunderland on Tuesday 21 September.

• Stoke picked up their first league points of the season when Robert Huth's last-gasp goal handed the Potters a 2-1 home victory over Aston Villa. Prior to that dramatic victory, Tony Pulis's side had been defeated at Wolverhampton Wanderers (1-2) and Chelsea (0-2) and home by Tottenham Hotspur (1-2). Stoke also reached the Carling Cup third round by defeating Shrewsbury Town (2-1) and face Fulham at home in the third round on Tuesday 21 September.

• West Ham manager Avram Grant and centre-back Tal Ben Haim will both be absent from Saturday's game as they respect the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. Dating back thousands of years, Yom Kippur - or Day of Atonement - is the most significant day of the year. It is a strict day of fasting and abstaining that forbids all followers to work. The club fully respect and understand the situation. The manager will pick and prepare the side as usual and fully ensure that all are ready for the match this weekend. Assistant manager Zeljko Petrovic, senior coach Paul Groves and first-team coach Kevin Keen will all be on the bench at the Britannia Stadium.

• The match is live on Sky Sports. West Ham will be appearing in front of live television cameras for the first time since Monday 19 April, when the Hammers were beaten 3-0 by Liverpool at Anfield in front of the ESPN cameras. Stoke's 2-1 victory over Aston Villa last Monday evening was screened live by Sky Sports.

• West Ham's biggest away win at Stoke came courtesy of a 4-1 Division Two victory on 29 March 1958. Vic Keeble scored twice and John Dick and Mike Grice once apiece as the Hammers continued their march towards the title and promotion to Division One.

Saturday's team news

West Ham United

• New signings Lars Jacobsen and Victor Obinna look set to keep their places after impressing on their West Ham United debuts against Chelsea last Saturday.

• Defender Tal Ben Haim will miss Saturday's game in respect for the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. The Israel defender's place will go to either James Tomkins or Winston Reid, who both impressed in Tuesday's reserve-team victory at Everton, or Danny Gabbidon or Manuel da Costa.

• South Africa striker Benni McCarthy could be included for the first time since the Carling Cup victory over Oxford United on 24 August after working hard on his fitness during the recent international break.

• The Hammers could again be without Thomas Hitzlsperger after the 28-year-old picked up a thigh injury during Germany's international friendly draw in Denmark last month.

• Peter Kurucz, Jack Collison, Zavon Hines and Anthony Edgar on the long-term injured list are all recovering from knee surgery. Kurucz and Edgar have recently undergone surgery, while Collison and Hines are regular visitors to Chadwell Heath as they continue their rehabilitation.

Stoke City

• Stoke City will definitely be without Mali international striker Mamady Sidibe, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2010/11 season after suffering a ruptured achilles in the 2-1 home Barclays Premier League defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on 21 August.

Previous meetings

• The most recent meeting between the two sides was on 27 March 2010, when 34,564 supporters saw Stoke City run out fortunate 1-0 winners in a Barclays Premier League fixture at the Boleyn Ground. Despite the Hammers having the majority of the play and the clear-cut chances, striker Ricardo Fuller scored the only goal of the game with an individual strike on 69 minutes.

The lineups were:
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Upson, Da Costa, Spector, Parker, Noble (Ilan 76), Dyer (Diamanti 46), Behrami, Cole, Mido (McCarthy 84)
Subs not used: Kurucz, Daprela, Gabbidon, Kovac

Stoke City: Sorensen, Huth, Faye (Wilkinson 26), Collins, Higginbotham, Lawrence, Whelan, Delap, Etherington (Fuller 67), Sidibe, Kitson (Tuncay 48)
Subs not used: Begovic, Pugh, Amdy Faye, Moult

• Saturday's game marks the 79th time West Ham and Stoke have faced one another in competitive fixtures, and the 67th in the Football League and Premier League. West Ham have won 31, Stoke 29 and there have been 18 draws. In this competition, West Ham have won 26, Stoke 25 and 15 matches have been drawn.

Overall record v Stoke City (all competitions) W 31 D 18 L 29

Last time out

• West Ham United were beaten 3-1 by Chelsea at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday 11 September. The Barclays Premier League champions took the lead in the second minute when Michael Essien headed in Didier Drogba's corner. Chelsea doubled their lead on 18 when Matthew Upson's clearance hit Salomon Kalou on the heel and looped past Robert Green. Essien put the Blues 3-0 up with seven minutes remaining with another header from Paulo Ferreira's cross before Scott Parker scored an 85th-minute consolation with a superb cushioned volley. Frederic Piquionne hit the underside of the bar with a late header, but Chelsea held on.

11 September 2010
Barclays Premier League
West Ham United 1-3 Chelsea
West Ham United: Green, Jacobsen, Ben-Haim, Upson, Ilunga, Parker, Noble, Behrami (Piquionne 72), Boa Morte (Dyer 45), Cole, Obinna
Subs not used: Stech, Kovac, Faubert, Tomkins, Barrera

• Stoke City picked up their first win of the Barclays Premier League season in from of live Sky Sports cameras on Monday 13 September, defeating Aston Villa 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium. Having fallen behind to a diving header from Stewart Downing, the Potters equalised through summer signing Kenwyne Jones with ten minutes remaining before Robert Huth diverted the ball into the net in the third minute of added time.

13 September 2010
Barclays Premier League
Stoke City 2-1 Aston Villa
Stoke City: Sorensen, Huth, Faye, Collins, Wilson (Pennant 65), Shawcross, Delap (Whelan 87), Etherington, Whitehead, Walters (Fuller 61), Jones
Subs not used: Begovic, Gudjohnsen, Wilkinson, Higginbotham

West Ham United

• Valon Behrami could make his 50th Barclays Premier League start for the club at the Britannia Stadium. The Switzerland midfielder has made 56 league and cup appearances in total, scoring three goals.

• The Hammers brought in eight new players this summer - Obinna, Jacobsen, Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, Mexico winger Pablo Barrera, France forward Frederic Piquionne, New Zealand defender Winston Reid, Belgian goalkeeper Ruud Boffin and Israel defender Tal Ben Haim, who has arrived on loan from Grant's former club Portsmouth.

• Five senior players left the Boleyn Ground during the summer transfer window - Alessandro Diamanti and Fabio Daprela both joined Italian Serie A new boys Brescia Calcio on permanent contracts. Brazilian Ilan was released at the end of his short-term contract, Egyptian Mido returned to Middlesbrough following the end of his loan spell and has since joined Ajax, while Mexican Guillermo Franco was released at the end of his one-year contract.

• Teenage midfielder Josh Payne was released and subsequently joined Doncaster Rovers before being loaned to Oxford United. Academy graduate Bondz 'Gala has linked up with Plymouth Argyle on a permanent basis.

• West Ham possess the tenth-best record in Premier League history. The Hammers have contested 582 matches, winning 195, drawing 146 and losing 241. West Ham have scored 682 goals and conceded 822 in those matches. In total, the Hammers have won 731 Premier League points.

Stoke City

• Stoke City go into Saturday's match 18th in the Barclays Premier League table, having collected three points from four matches.

• Stoke brought in two strikers to boost their attacking options. Jon Walters was snapped up from Ipswich Town for £2.75m, while the club splashed out £8m to bring in Trinidad and Tobago international Kenwyne Jones from Sunderland. Iceland forward Eidur Gudjohnsen was snapped up from AS Monaco on a permanent contract, while midfielder Salif Diao rejoined the club on a free contract. Winger Jermaine Pennant has been brought in on loan from Spanish club Real Zaragoza. Finally, defender Marc Wilson has arrived from Portsmouth.

• The Potters allowed young striker Nathaniel Wedderburn to join Northampton Town on a free transfer, veteran defender Andy Griffin to join Reading for an undisclosed fee, while England striker James Beattie left for Scottish giants Rangers, also for an undisclosed fee. Striker Dave Kitson joined Portsmouth on transfer deadline day as part of the deal that took Marc Wilson to Stoke, but team-mate Liam Lawrence missed the transfer deadline and has instead joined Pompey on an emergency loan until January 2011.

• Diego Arismendi has joined Barnsley on loan, while Ibrahima Sonko and Carl Dickinson have also linked up with Portsmouth on a temporary basis. Ben Marshall has been loaned to Carlisle United.

• Stoke have the 34th-best record in the history of the Premier League. The Potters have contested 80 matches, winning 24, drawing 23 and losing 33. Stoke have scored 76 goals in those matches, conceding 110. In all, Stoke have collected 95 Premier League points.

Ten-year League records

West Ham United

2009/10 Premier League 17th (35 points)
2008/09 Premier League 9th (51 points)
2007/08 Premier League 10th (49 points)
2006/07 Premier League 15th (41 points)
2005/06 Premier League 9th (55 points)
2004/05 Championship 6th (73 points - promoted via play-offs)
2003/04 Championship 4th (74 points)
2002/03 Premier League 18th (42 points - relegated to Championship)
2001/02 Premier League 7th (53 points)
2000/01 Premier League 15th (42 points)

Stoke City

2009/10 Premier League 11th (47 points)
2008/09 Premier League 12th (45 points)
2007/08 Championship 2nd (79 points - promoted)
2006/07 Championship 8th (73 points)
2005/06 Championship 13th (58 points)
2004/05 Championship 12th (61 points)
2003/04 Championship 11th (66 points)
2002/03 Championship 21st (50 points)
2001/02 League One 5th (80 points - promoted via play-offs)
2000/01 League One 5th (77 points)

Old boys

• West Ham first-team coach Kevin Keen made 201 league and cup appearances for Stoke between October 1994 and September 2000, scoring 12 goals. Keen, a former West Ham apprentice, made 279 league and cup appearances for the Hammers between March 1984 and July 1993, scoring 30 goals.

• Stoke winger Matthew Etherington made 195 appearances for West Ham between August 2003 and January 2009, scoring 18 goals. He joined the Potters on 8 January 2009, having moved to the Boleyn Ground from Tottenham Hotspur five-and-a-half years previously.

• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are Clive Clarke, Bob Dixon, Sir Geoff Hurst, Lawrie Leslie, Nicky Morgan, Henri Camara and Frank Richardson.

Saturday's officials

Referee - Lee Mason
Assistant referees - Andy Halliday and Mick McDonough
Fourth Official - Kevin Friend

• Lee Mason started refereeing in 1988 and in 1992 he was added to the North West Counties Football League assistant referees' list, and progressed to full referee for that competition four years later.

• He was included on the Football League list of assistant referees in 1998, and was then added to the Premier League list in 2000.

• In 2002, he was promoted to referee for the Football League and in 2003 became a 'Development Group' referee, before finally reaching the Premier League list of Select Group referees in 2006.

• His first ever match in the top tier was on 4 February 2006, when Middlesbrough lost 4-0 at home to Aston Villa.

• Mason was also chosen to control the League One Play-Off final between Barnsley and Swansea on 27 May 2006 and also took charge of the 2009 FA Youth Cup final first leg between Arsenal and Liverpool.

• Mason took charge of West Ham United's FA Cup fourth-round victory at Hartlepool United on 24 January 2009. He also officiated the 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Birmingham City on 12 December 2009.

• The 38-year-old has refereed two Barclays Premier League fixtures so far this season - Everton's 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers on 21 August and Blackpool's 2-0 victory at Newcastle United on 11 September.

Next up

• West Ham United travel to the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening to face Sunderland in the Carling Cup third round, with kick-off at 7.45pm.

• Stoke City host Fulham in the Carling Cup third round on Tuesday evening, with kick-off at 7.45pm.

General information

• Saturday's weather forecast is for light rain with a maximum daytime temperature of 15C (59F) in Stoke on Trent.