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Tony Cottee Column: West Ham beware, more to Stoke than the long ball

PUBLISHED: 10:34 03 March 2011

Matthew Etherington, Stoke City

Matthew Etherington, Stoke City

EMPICS Sport

"They have a fair amount of technical ability and are a dangerous side."

THERE are no two ways about it, this Saturday’s match against Stoke is a must-win.

We need to follow-up Sunday’s impressive win against Liverpool with three points this Saturday.

With tough matches against Manchester United and Spurs on the horizon, the Hammers need a victory this Saturday for confidence and to give us a buffer above the bottom three.

I watched Stoke play West Brom on Monday night and we all know what they are about.

They are a very tall, strong, well organised side, who do well from set pieces and have good strikers in Riccardo Fuller and Kenwyne Jones, who are always a handful to defend.

What worries me is that West Ham have defended poorly from set pieces all season and struggled to deal with balls coming into the box, a Stoke speciality.

Former Hammer Matthew Etherington made an appearance against the Baggies so I expect him to play and both he and Jermaine Pennant are dangerous players who are good crossers of the ball.

It’s imperative corners, long throws are practiced all week, because otherwise we could come unstuck.

I don’t agree with a direct style of play, but there is more to Stoke than just that and it is unfair to compare them to the Wimbledon’s a off yesteryear who just played long ball.

They have a fair amount of technical ability and are a dangerous side.

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