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Rupert Wyman 12th Mar 2011 - 14:27

Things are going from Ba to worse

West Ham have improved as the season has progressed and they are now a match for any Premier League team. They were shrewd in the transfer market in the winter and they are no longer the Premier League whipping boys.

I think Stoke are a massive price to get relegated (10/1). There is little between the teams in the lower half of the league and Carew is their only player to have scored since their FA Cup third round draw with Cardiff back in January.

West Ham almost reached Wembley in the Carling Cup but they were knocked-out by the eventual winners Birmingham.  Stoke are 11/10 to win in ninety minutes, the draw is 9/4 and the West Ham win is 13/5.

The Match Winner offer is Demba Ba to score anytime and West Ham to win at 5/1. Demba Ba almost signed for Pulis' side but he failed a medical and stoke decided it was not in their best interests to sign him.

The Senegalese striker has been a sensation at West Ham and he is 6/1 to score the opening goal. He has scored four goals in four starts and he has helped to invigorate the other players.

Another player who has impressed lately at the club is the former Villa player Hitzlsperger. He is an attacking midfielder and he has a cracking shot from distance. I would consider backing the 5/1 for Hitzlsperger to score anytime.

They have become more solid in the centre of the park, whilst Hitzlsperger provides most of the attacking threat, the likes of O'Neil, Noble and Parker have shored up the midfield.

There will be plenty of takers of the 11/10 for the Stoke win because although they are poor away from home, they are unbeaten at the Britannia Stadium in 2011. They are also boosted by the return to fitness of the former West Ham player Etherington.

The tricky winger is 4/1 to score anytime but he has been hampered by injuries for a while. The goals should start flowing if he hits the ground running, he can provide the balls for Jones, Fuller and Carew.

With the introduction of Etherington to the first team and West Ham's return to form, I would back both teams to score at 10/11. Ba will want to show the Stoke management and fans what they are missing and Carew can break down the Hammers defence.

Over 2.5 goals looks big at 23/20, West Ham have regularly self-destructed this season but they will not sit back at the Britannia stadium.  West Ham now have players who are comfortable in-front of goal, they are still weak at the back and Bridge is not the player he was at Chelsea but stranger things have happened than West Ham lifting the trophy this May.




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