The two leakiest defences in the Premier League so far this season go head to head at the Bet365 Stadium this afternoon and that should promise us goals, especially as they have shipped no fewer than 68 goals between them in the first 17 weeks of the season. That is an average of 2 goals against per game for each team.
But Stoke’s opponents this afternoon West Ham have started to buck that trend as of late as they have not only earned four points from their last two matches but have kept two clean sheets to boot, that in itself is no mean feat but it is even more impressive when you look at the opposition they faced.
A home win over Chelsea was then followed by a well earned point at the same ground against Arsenal in midweek as David Moyes starts to get the wheels moving in the right direction at the London Stadium, not only that but even though they came away from Manchester City empty handed they still earned many plaudits for their performances.
When the fixture threw up that combination of fixtures many feared the worst for the East London outfit, the general consensus was that they would do well just to keep the three defeats respectable but as it stands they have picked up four points from an almost impossible nine and they will look to continue that momentum this afternoon.
They face a Stoke side who were very soundly beaten last Saturday when they faced another London club in the shape of Tottenham. Wembley was the setting as Mauricio Pochettino’s men finally gave one of the lesser teams for use of a better phrase a Premier League thumping.
Mark Hughes’ men were on the wrong end of a 5-1 defeat and usually with results like that it is hard to say if the winning team were good or the losing team were bad but in this instance you would have to say that Stoke’s defending was nothing short of shambolic.
That five goal haul for Tottenham meant that Stoke overtook West Ham as they side with the worst defensive record in the division and had it not been for the performance of Jack Butland it could have been an even more embarrasing afternoon.
Fans were not happy with the performance and they let their frustrations be known when the players arrive back in Stoke after the game. The players usually get the train back after the game and it is usually a more peaceful affair, not on Saturday though.
The players had to be locked in the train for their own safety as tensions mounted, there was no question of anything coming to blows or anything like that but after a heavy drubbing the last thing you need is to be accosted by your own support.
Mark Hughes was hoping that those events would work as a motivational tool in midweek as they traveled to in form Burnley, unfortunately for the Stoke boss this particular technique did not work as they came away from Turf Moor empty handed having suffered a second away defeat in just three days.
They will look to improve their fortunes when they return to the Bet365 with the last time they played here seeing them come from behind to earn all three points against basement side Swansea and with two points separating the two sides Stoke can ill afford a defeat later on.
I think due to both defences being so bad this season this the kind of a game that becomes a must not lose instead of a must win. I have a feeling this one will end in a draw, a point that David Moyes will probably end up being the happier of the two managers after the final whistle has blown.
Here is what social media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) December 15, 2017