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Premier League Preview: West Ham United vs. Stoke City

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  • West Ham won 3-0 at Stoke on Dec. 16
  • Stoke have drawn last three at WHUFC
  • West Ham leads all-time 35W-25D-33L

West Ham United can go a long way toward clinching another season in the Premier League by piling woe on a Stoke City which really needs a win at the London Stadium on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Stoke City is six points back of safety, and seven behind West Ham United. The Potters next face Burnley and Liverpool, before finishing with Crystal Palace and Swansea City.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

West Ham has rebounded from three-straight league losses to wallop Southampton and draw Chelsea, while Stoke is winless in nine with just four draws (The Potters have faced a murderer’s row of opponents lately, including Man City, Arsenal, and Spurs amongst their last four).

What they’re saying

West Ham manager David Moyes looks to Marko Arnautovic“The players look to him. He’s got a leadership role which he needs to develop as well for the team and for the club, because he is getting to an age where he has to influence the players around him, so he needs to lead by both his character and his performances, and his performances have done that in many ways. He is vocal in his own way. He has good humour, he’s a character and I’d like him to put that talking about what he can do in training. To get to the very top, he needs to keep his level of training very high.”

Stoke boss Paul Lambert on in-form Mame Biram Diouf“If you look at Mame’s games it’s clear that he gives you everything that he’s got. His work ethic and the way he goes about things is excellent. It’s not just on a match day it’s at the training ground as well. The way he conducts himself is first class and he does everything for the right reasons; the level of his performances has been very, very good. He needs a little bit of help up there as well at certain times but I think his performances have been first class.

Prediction

“Sorry to Chelsea fans” – Chicharito the villain again

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Javier Hernandez came off the bench to score against Chelsea.

That’s something the Blues have seen before, now four times in the Mexican’s fine career. It’s the first time they’ve seen it in the maroon shirt of West Ham United, but still a similar sight.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 1-1 West Ham ]

“Sorry to Chelsea fans,” Hernandez said with a laugh. “Sometimes you get things like that in football. I cannot score against one team, I keep scoring against Chelsea. We get a point, that is the important thing. It’s not a decision of mine to start or not, but I make it difficult for him now.”

The 29-year-old has eight goals this season in 1,455 Premier League minutes, including four in his last seven outings.

His goal had goalkeeper Joe Hart, himself a star on Sunday, praising the diminutive striker for his desire following an international call-up on the other side of the ocean.

“We looked dangerous in the second half,” said Hart. “It’s nice to stay in the game. ‘Chich’ has come back from the other side of the world last week. I’m so glad he got fit for us and got the decisive goal.”

Chicharito wasn’t too happy, though, saying he felt he should’ve found a winner, too.

“Definitely,” Hernandez said. “It was one cross from Marko where if I make the move I can just tap in but these type of games are very difficult. (Against Chelsea) we had to be very clever, very focused. We have our next final against Stoke next weekend.”

The Hammers are now six points clear of the drop zone.

Watch Live: Chelsea vs. West Ham United

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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West Ham United hopes to insure its Premier League status with a London Derby against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Marko Arnautovic gets the start up top for David Moyes‘ Irons, while Chelsea will trout out a front three of Willian, Eden Hazard, and Alvaro Morata

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Emerson, Bakayoko, Drinkwater, Pedro, Giroud.

West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku, Kouyate, Noble, Fernandes, Joao Mario, Arnautovic. Subs: Adrian, Pask, Evra, Cullen, Diangana, Hugill, Chicharito.

Moyes, Arnautovic hail West Ham’s response

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West Ham’s 3-0 home win against Southampton on Saturday was the polar opposite of their last home game at the London Stadium.

On Mar. 10, three weeks ago, West Ham lost 3-0 at home to Burnley with fans invading the pitch and fights breaking out in the stands as Hammers fans protested against the ownership of the club.

It looked like their season would spiral out of control with West Ham just two points above the drop zone after three defeats on the spin.

There were only cheers in the home end on Saturday as David Moyes‘ side delivered a perfect response after a testing three weeks on and off the pitch.

Speaking after the emphatic win against their relegation rivals which pulls West Ham five points clear of the drop zone, Moyes praised his team for showing a perfect reaction to the troubles.

“The players were great, their prep over the last few weeks, their attitude has been great, they wanted to put past events behind them,” Moyes said. “The supporters were great and they appreciated the performance of the players. We got the job done early which helped.”

West Ham were in Miami during their three-week break as they didn’t have a game due a clash with the FA Cup fixtures and the international break. Moyes has obviously used that time wisely to refocus his players after three-straight defeats. They looked hungry and finished the game off early.

Marko Arnautovic, who scored twice in the first half as the Hammers came flying out of the traps, admitted the noise and level of support from the home fans fired up the players before the game and made a big difference.

“I think we had a couple of difficult weeks. Obviously we wanted to get good results but we didn’t,” Arnautovic said. “We had three weeks off and we had to stick together as a team, a whole club. We have a lot of quality. We showed that today. It was a fantastic performance.”

West Ham are five points above the relegation zone with seven games to go and it looks like Moyes’ men will be fine.

The response of West Ham’s players — in a game where the pressure was on against a relegation rival and the fans ready to turn on them once again — was sensational.

Plenty has been said about West Ham’s squad over the past few months but their players stood tall and delivered their best 45 minutes of the season to drag themselves away from the relegation scrap.

Moyes: West Ham ‘better prepared’ for potential crowd trouble

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West Ham United is two weeks removed from an absurd home match at the London Stadium, one which found its fans on the field and a corner flag planted in the center circle.

That started with Burnley going ahead 1-0 against the relegation-threatened Irons. David Moyes cannot guarantee that the fans will react better to a concession, but his Irons should fare better than a 3-0 blowout.

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The stadium will have increased security for Saturday’s visit from Southampton (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

From The Telegraph:

“We have to make sure that we are in the game, to make sure we do not let anything alter our mindset. I think the players have a different mindset now.

“The players did not enjoy it. They are better prepared now. If it happens again they will be mentally stronger.”

The potential for chaos will have at least one eye trained on the stands, but there’s little debate that what happens between the lines could severely hamper the fortunes of a losing side. It’s a big one in London.