Stoke City Open Thread

This is the game that could, in theory, kick start our season. I can’t remember the last time we won two in a row. If we beat Stoke we will be in the top half of the league for the first time since the first few weeks of the season.

There will be at least one enforced change tomorrow, with Craig Bellamy suspended because he has reached five bookings. I imagine Diego Tristan will start alongside Carlton Cole. Lucas Neill may also be replaced by Julien Faubert due to a twisted ankle. Otherwise, expect the rest of the team to look the same.

Green, Ilunga, Upson, Davenport, Faubery, Noble, Parker, Behrami, Collison, Cole, Tristan.

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38 Responses to Stoke City Open Thread

  1. SJ Chandos says:

    Yes, you are right, this game can be the turning point of our season. It will put us on 25 points with winnerable games to follow against Newcastle, Fulham and Hull. Stoke City do not have that much quality, but they are organised, disciplined and very physical in approach. I always get a bit nervous about the ability of the Hammers to handle these type of ‘rough house’ teams, just look at the results this season against Hull away and Bolton at home! Also, lets hope Dave Kitson is out, as he always seems to do well against us for some reason

    However, I am taking us to get a hard fought 2-0 win, with Cole and Sears stepping up to the plate for us. The absence of Bellamy is a blow and I would have preferred the experience and strength of Neill at right-back, but I do believe we will win. Our centre backs will deal with their route one, ariel assault and Parker, Noble, Berhami and Collison should boss the midfield. I hope that Sears starts up front with Cole, but I suspect Zola may go for Di Michele. I would also like to see more of Tristian and hopefully he will get a longer run out tomorrow and/or against Barnsley in the FA Cup third round.

    Top half by the final whistle and Sportsmail having to write their relegation shock-horror copy about some other unfortunate club, Spurs perhaps!

  2. Old Rag Man Reg says:

    2 wins on the trot?…. it has been a while.

    in my book Tristan has to be given a chance, alongside the tireless Cole, with Sears on the bench to come on as a second half sub to frighten the hell out of them with his pace just as they are flagging, i’d also have Boa Morte on the bench for the same reason.

    Tristan has something to prove and it wasn’t that long ago that he was one of the most feared strikers in Europe.

    COYI

  3. FrannyZola says:

    I hope Noble don’t wear his lead boots again…did you see that shot against Pompey!

  4. chris says:

    Sorry but have to disagree with some of you.If we play better away coz we play better when we counter attack why not play this way at home! maybe without bellamy this might be difficult HMMMMM, This will be an ugly game,without bellamy I would be happy with a draw, 4 5 1 for me with LBM on the left its his sought of game.(maybe) hes got to have a good game some day!!!

  5. FrannyZola says:

    HOW RUBBISH ARE SETANTA. THIS IS THEIR PREVIEW OF THE GAME….AND BELLAMY’S SUSPENDED!

    “West Ham kicked off the festive period in perfect style with victory at Portsmouth and Gianfranco Zola will be seeking more of the same at home to Stoke on Sunday.

    The transfer speculation seemed not to weigh down Craig Bellamy as he was in sizzling form at Fratton Park, but can The Hammers keep hold of the Welsh firebrand?

    Whether Bellamy stays a Hammer beyond January remains to be seen, but he will have a key role to play against Stoke on Sunday.

    Hammers skipper Lucas Neill faces a late fitness test on a knock he picked up against Pompey, while Kieron Dyer is unlikely to be risked as he closes on a return to action.

    Valon Behrami and Scott Parker came through the Pompey win unscathed, Matthew Etherington has shrugged off a virus, but Dean Ashton and Danny Gabbidon remain sidelined.

    Stoke will be nursing some wounded morale after suffering a late defeat to Manchester United on Boxing Day and manager Tony Pulis will have work to do to raise morale for the trip to the capital.

    Recent form between the pair is thin on the ground, they have never met in The Premier League, but The Hammers won both meetings in the 2004/2005 season.

    PIVOTAL PLAYER: Craig Bellamy
    When he’s hot, he’s hot. Bellamy was sizzling against Pompey and a repeat performance could leave Stoke chasing shadows.”

    HAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  6. chris says:

    and you pay for that fran

  7. Karl says:

    Anyone seen Setantas report regarding Fire Sale at West Ham, there to spineless to publish any responses to the rubbish they have issued.

    They most get through a lot of Kleenex!

  8. FrannyZola says:

    Na Chris, this is from their site! Pay for it? Maybe to have a laugh yeh! They even make simple spelling mistakes.

    Hopefully they’l get better though. I mean they’ve managed to entice that Dan Rohan over from Skysportsnews, and he was supposed to be their chief something or the other. They just gotta get rid of the school work experience lot!

  9. Roy says:

    I just wish that our esteemed CEO, Duxberry, would make a statement about players leaving or not. Zola obviously believes what he is saying about nobody leaving but the board don’t exactly have an unblemished record where transfers are concerned as the Curbishley/Ferdinand/McCartney saga showed. I still think that they will accept any half reasonable offer for any, and I mean any, player in the January window. With the current squad intact I believe that we will comfortably stay up but the loss of a couple of key players would probably put us in dire straits.

  10. the headmaster says:

    Agreed, Roy – the silence from the board speaks volumes. Ruling nothing in, nothing out. Nothing on the website AS USUAL!!!
    I will keep my glass half full glasses on and dismiss the rumours and speculation unless or until anything negative actually happens.
    3 points today but I expect no better than 1 – 0.

  11. E1 says:

    A win today I’m sure but it wont be prity, our mid feild should boss the game and if we get the ball in the box enough cole will get on the end of one of them( fingers crossed ). I would like to see sears start and have Tristan on the bench. If Fabuert is right back I hope he plays as well as he did at pompey. A clean sheet would be nice as later in the season I think GD will be important. Our next 3 games should give us at least 5 or 6 points maybe more. Things seem to be looking up and I am looking forward to the game today I’m am taking my Nephew 7yrs to his first game so a win will keep him on the right tracks and stop him from going to the glory clubs.
    Something – 0 will do the trick. COYI

  12. Goatygav says:

    Without Bellars it’ll be tough going today. Scrape a 1-0. Hope Cole gets the goal as a good run will do his confidence the world of good.

    COYI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Upton Spark says:

    I’m predicting a dull boring game today and I can even see us only getting a point without Bellamy.
    I hope I’m wrong on this occasion as I would love to see a bright attacking game with end to end football to really warm the crowd up.
    I see on Sky today that Harry has been busy looking at who else he can tempt to his little den at the lane.
    Latest is Defoe(ha ha ha) Downing(must be desperate)and some foriegn chap who’s name escapes me.
    SO,who else can Harry try to sign then? Answers on a postcard please.

  14. Tony says:

    I dont think it will be dull, I think and expect it will be 100mph, at least at the start. All depends on ball retension. If we keep the ball and play at our pace, no long thums out of defence crap, then I cant see us having a problem….BUT if we start mixing it up with then, long ball, scappy passing poor approach play( ala Bolton and Hull away) , then Stoke will just absorb it all and be very glad just to get a 0-0 out of 2day.
    You can only win games if you score goals, so I really hope we get the first and then afew more. praying fór a good game and 2 or 3nil.

  15. Bobby says:

    Are we missing something? Lyon are interested in faubert?
    Let him go!

    Back on todays game, i would pick the same starting 11 as you Iain, let’s see if we can hit four again, and at last, a win at home.

  16. jon.london colney says:

    gut feeling is his will be a 2-0 boring controll the ball game.great !!!!!coyi

  17. mac says:

    Knowing us, it’ll be 1-1. Score first, fail to capitalise then Fuller will shin one with 12 to go…

  18. 17 year hammer says:

    we defo need a win today anmd turn upton park back to the fortress it once was

  19. richo says:

    Cole and Collison scorin’for a 2-0 win COYI!!!

  20. chris says:

    Without bellamy it will be tough,hope we dont get muscled out of it,I would be happy with a draw.

  21. DevoDevo says:

    West Ham will dominate possession today. Whether that translates into a win, we shall see.

    I would also start with Tritan and bring Freddie on against the tired legs, especially if it is still 0-0 after 70 mins!

    Stoke’s up and under style will suit our central defenders, but we need to be alert at set pieces.

    3 points today and the season is off and running and the fools on here who still prefer Curbishley/Day ticket to the present set up, will have to go elsewhere to moan.

  22. DevoDevo says:

    Quality from Cole again 😦

  23. jon.london colney says:

    why do i ever predict a zero in our column.ffs here we go again,4-1

  24. DevoDevo says:

    3 bad misses already.

  25. DevoDevo says:

    All West Ham. Can see sucker punch from another set piece at this rate.

  26. Tony says:

    This is going 2b a loooonnnng 2nd half.

  27. hammeredCalv says:

    STOP THE PRESS ! CARLTON HAS SCORED AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. DevoDevo says:

    Stoke, utter disgrace to football. The sooner they go down the better. No interest in playing football. Long throws (that take an age) and set pieces (Collins ball watching again).

    Green 7
    Faubert 4
    Collins 5
    Upson 7
    Ilunga 8
    Behrami 6
    Parker 5
    Collison 7
    Boa Morte 7
    Cole 7
    Di Michele 6

    Tristan 7 (would have been 5 but for the goal) 🙂

    Upward and onwards.

  29. Serbian Hammer says:

    Good win and brilliant sending off.

  30. jon.london colney says:

    great result,now for europe…? god i sound like a spud,wash my mouth out.coyi

  31. richo says:

    Awesome result, good to see Cole get the reward for all his hard work, sure it was another scrappy display but he never gives up…Full credit to him.
    Hopefully we stay alive in the cup now before we go and thrash Newcastle…
    Happy new year to all.

  32. djclipz says:

    we were all over them, it was incredibly frustrating to watch us repeatedly attack and then faubert pass the ball straight to the front defender!!! BUT wayhey Tristan and got the goal, another 3 pts!!! So happy right now lol COYI!!!!!

  33. brooking still the best says:

    phew, its another 3 points, just! coyi

  34. Roshi says:

    Cor a new bike for Christmas in 1963 and now 2 wins on the trot, two Christmas’s I won’t forget.
    A nice warm feeling, and not only that but Spuds lost and Charlton finally came good and beat Sheff Utd.

    Must dash, turkey sandwiches are about to be served!

  35. SwedeHammer says:

    I’m giggling for two reasons. The awesome win and Roshi’s blog…..

  36. Tony says:

    6 points, 6 goals,Cole scored 2 ofem, won at home again,won away, only let 2 in…dont know about u but have we turned a corner or wot? can we and will we now push on? this is west ham of course, ive supported them for 40 yrs, seen and been through all the ups and downs. Couid we now build from here, get into a safe / comfort zone around 8th-10th place with about 46 – 50 points and look ahead to next year and new owners and even a cup run. Zola needs 2 work on afew things like crosses and shots from range and defending from set pieces, but all in all a good few days.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR 2 U ALL…………………..COYI:::::::::::..

  37. chris says:

    Traffic was murder gettin home!…but who cares I could of sat there, radio on all night,
    SPURS WHY WOULD ANYONE WANNA GO THERE!!!!!

  38. Roshi says:

    Flipping ‘eck, Charlton lost 3~1, blame my son he told me they had won 0~1. I hate Sheff Utd its always the second result now for me, just hoping they have lost!

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