West Ham battle to another draw at Stoke City
PUBLISHED: 16:56 29 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:56 29 April 2017
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The Hammers made it two goalless draws in a row as missed chances cost them the three points at Stoke City
Stoke City 0 West Ham United 0
Stoke City keeper Jack Butland put in a man of the match performance as the Potters and the Hammers played out an entertaining but fruitless 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium.
Both teams had their moments, with Andre Ayew twice being denied at one end and Marko Arnautovic stopped by Adrian twice in the second half, but ultimately a point was always going to be adequate for both teams as they look to guarantee their Premier League safety for another year.
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic kept the same team that had started in the goalless draw against Everton last week, which meant only a place on the bench for club captain Mark Noble, who was back after two games out with suspension.
There was no place in the squad for troubled striker Diafra Sakho though as Sam Byram also returned to the bench after serving his one-game ban.
The Hammers started the brighter with Manuel Lanzini forcing a save from Jack Butland in the opening minute, but Stoke were also looking for an early breakthrough as Marko Arnautovic got the ball on the left and squared it for Saido Berahino, whose effort was superbly blocked by Winston Reid.
It was the Hammers who looked sharper in midfield with Cheikhou Kouyate hurting the Potters with some swashbucking runs ended by fouls and from one free kick Lanzini’s cross almost found Jose Fonte, only for Glen Johnson to make a timely clearance.
Moments later, the lively Edimilson Fernandes popped up on the right and squared for Jonathan Calleri, but the Argentinian blasted high and wide with the goal begging.
It wasn’t to be his only miss of the half, but before that Arthur Masuaku crossed for Andre Ayew to launch himself with an overhead kick which forced a brilliant save from Butland.
It wasn’t all West Ham and Johnson got the better of James Collins before his low cross was hacked behind by Havard Nordtveit, but it was Hammers who looked more likely and after Fernandes had been caught in two minds and saw his effort drift over the bar, the best chance of the half fell to Calleri.
He beat the offside trap to get into the box, but when his low centre was blocked back to him, the striker attempted a ‘robana’ when a simple tap-in was needed and his effort was blocked.
Arthur Masuaku was replaced by Aaron Cresswell at the break, but West Ham continued to be in the ascendancy and within a couple of minutes, Ayew’s lucky deflection had put in Kouyate, only for his shot to fly past the far post with Butland beaten.
Stoke hit back and Xherdan Shaqiri was denied by Collins and Reid in the box, before Arnautovic saw his long-ranger tipped over by Adrian at full stretch and then Joe Allen forced a save from Adrian in the West Ham goal.
Stoke began to put on a bit of pressure and Berahino forced a decent save from the West Ham keeper as the Hammers looked to regain control of the game.
They did when Kouyate won the ball and put in Ayew whose shot stung the hands of Butland and then the Stoke keeper denied Lanzini’s in the box with his feet as the game really warmed up.
Arnautovic was twice denied by Adrian from close range after getting on the end of Shaqiri’s superb long cross and as Peter Crouch came on it was the Potters who looked more likely to grab a winner.
Robert Snodgrass replaced Calleri as West Ham looked to shut up shop and the game sort of petered out from there.
Many had expected a draw between these two teams and in the end they both settled for that, but there were more interesting moments along the way than perhaps many of us expected.
West Ham: Adrian; Fonte, Reid, Collins; Fernandes, Kouyate, Nordtveit, Masuaku (cresswell, h/t); Lanzini, Ayew (Noble, 69); Calleri (Snodgrass 78).
Subs: Randolph, Byram, Feghouli, Fletcher.
Referee: Lee Probert.