Hammers to edge London Stadium nail-biter: West Ham vs Stoke City preview

West Ham host Stoke City in a Premier League relegation six-pointer on Monday evening. Infogol’s Analyst uses expected goals (xG) data to generate the best bets

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West Ham Expected Goals (xG)

0.37 xG/90. That’s the record of Marko Anautovic this season, easily West Ham’s most important player when it comes to creating and scoring goals, and just 0.3 below the likes of 17-goal man Jamie Vardy, and exactly the same input as Liverpool’s number nine, Roberto Firmino (who has 15 goals to his name).

Those figures illustrate how important the Austrian forward is to David Moyes’ side, and he looks as crucial to their chance of winning Monday night’s game against Stoke as the match itself is to the relegation battle.

West Ham have played a game fewer than their 19th-placed rivals, and a win at the Olympic Stadium would see them extend their cushion over the relegation places to nine points (and 10 points above Stoke) – effectively seeing them safe.

The Hammers were lucky to get a point against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (xG: CHE 2.3 – 0.3 WES), but their previous 3-0 victory over fellow strugglers Southampton showed that they are a much more potent force at home against lesser opposition.

West Ham vs Southampton shot map

Stoke City Expected Goals (xG)

While a win for West Ham would go some way to calming the off-the-field (ish) problems at the club, it’s even more crucial for Stoke who are in danger of finding themselves cut adrift along with bottom club West Brom, and an out-of-form Southampton.

Stoke have lost four of their last six, though in that time they have faced Man City, Arsenal and Tottenham, and were possibly a little unlucky not to get a draw against Spurs at the bet365 Stadium (xG: STO 1.5 – 1.8 TOT) last time.

However, they are pretty much where they deserve to be in the table based on performances (Actual Position: 19th, Expected Position: 18th), and it seems foolish to expect them to improve significantly just because their Premier League status is on the line.

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Marko Arnautovic has nine goals in the league this campaign – despite playing as a wide midfielder for much of it – and he looks the best bet to score first in a game which West Ham are expected to edge. Though Stoke will realise they need to be more attacking than for most of the season, the home side have better forward options and are fancied to win a game in which both teams should score.

Recommended Bets:

West Ham to win and BTTS @ 16/5

Marko Arnautovic to score first @ 7/2

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