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Stoke City vs. West Ham United

Stoke City vs. West Ham United and Pick to Win
Date: Sunday, May 15th
Where: The Potteries, Stoke-On-Trent, United Kingdom
by Keith, Professional Soccer/Football Handicapper, Predictem

Match Odds: Stoke City 11/5, West Ham 6/4, Draw 27/10
Moneyline: Stoke City +220, West Ham +150, Draw +270
Over/Under: OFF

Once again in the final week of the English football, the schedule features a fixture of an underachiever against an overachiever. West Ham United has put together a sensational run to conclude their 2015-16 campaign, as they have lost just twice in their last twelve fixtures. For Stoke City, the Potters have yet to gain a win in their last six fixtures, their most recent win coming against Watford in March. This contest is a tale of two cities, one team is flirting with an unprecedented Europa qualification. The other is earning acquaintance with mediocrity despite having substantial hype entering the 2015-16 season. The emergence of West Ham United furthers the narrative we have been seeing all season long with unexpected teams vying for an assortment of credentials and accolades. The biggest headline was Leicester City’s ascension to EPL royalty after they secured their first league championship last week. Following this up, Tottenham’s run for second position, as they will emerge as the best team in London despite Chelsea and Arsenal sporting the history and pedigree of success. After these narratives, the focus shifts to Southampton and West Ham United, both of whom have unseated Liverpool and Everton as the perennial top-flight clubs. Both of these clubs can also potentially usurp perhaps the team regarded as the greatst in the land, Manchester United from a top-five finish if they get help this weekend and pull off wins of their own. For West Ham United, a win and Manchester United draw, achieves this feat.

The last meeting between both sides was on December 12th on West Ham’s home pitch. There, the Hammers and the Potters played to a dull 0-0 stalemate. Now, the teams will meet in Stoke-On-Trent for their Premier League nightcap. Like Leicester City with Jamie Vardy, West Ham United’s success was bolstered by the revelation of a true star in French forward Dimitri Payet. Payet has played as well as pretty much any player in the league, scoring 9 goals in 25 appearances for West Ham United this season.

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West Ham United needs to win here to have a chance of securing a Europa play-in berth. With this being said, the Hammers will likely be going all-out to win this contest but they have fostered some helter-skelter results away from Boelyn Ground. An overwhelming majority of the public are all over West Ham United in this one because they are likely employing the “must-win” angle for the Hammers. For Stoke City, this game actually bears little consequence for the Potters whether they win or lose. However, the “must win” angle has and always will be a chief killer of bankrolls.

While dissecting this market, it may actually cause some to wonder why the Hammers do not require juice after they recently defeated Manchester United in Upton Park and they have won three of their last four fixtures. With the Hammers taking back above even odds, this one seems like a virtual lock on paper and that can be dangerously deceptive. Stoke City was a team that was highly riveted in the early stages of the 2015-16 English Premier League season. Some pundits and analysts had the Potters as a potential dark horse for Europa qualification, while some where even more bold to say they could secure a top-four finish. As results would show, this prognostication and analysis has proven to be a fallacy but nonetheless, the Potters have a chance to vanquish West Ham’s continental tournament hopes at home in front of a sea of supporters in Stoke-on-Trent. With West Ham’s recent successes at West Bromwich and Everton and their ability to force a draw at Leicester, backers are banking on this fixture being another drop in the bucket for the mighty Hammers. Couple this with their most recent home win against Manchester United and this sets up the perfect sell-high opportunity for the Hammers. With West Ham being drawn in five of their last ten contests, while also owning a draw against this very club, this is a great time to take the draw.

Stoke City Recent Form
L- Crystal Palace 1-2
D – Sunderland 1-1
L – Manchester City 0-4
L – Tottenham Hotspur 0-4
L– Liverpool 1-4

West Ham United Recent Form
W – Manchester United 3-2
L – Swansea City 4-1
W –West Bromwich Albion 3-0
W - Watford 3-1
D –Leicester City 2-2

Keith's Prediction for the Game: Draw +270 (27/10)

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