Potters can plunder three crucial points

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Paul Lambert

Stoke City can give their hopes of avoiding the drop a boost and drag West Ham back into the relegation mire by beating David Moyes’ team on Monday.

The Potters are entrenched in the relegation zone and have only five games to extricate themselves from trouble.

They are six points away from safety and have lost their last four games, although they have all been tricky fixtures – against Manchester City, Everton, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Paul Lambert’s side have actually played reasonably well in all those games and, of the teams attempting to avoid the drop, they have the quality to put together a good run.

They still have to play Crystal Palace, Swansea City and Burnley so a victory in the capital on Monday, available at 3/1, can give them the confidence to pull away from the bottom three.

Keeping clean sheets has been a problem for Stoke all season, they have only managed five in total, the worst record alongside Bournemouth in the top flight. However, a tight defence will be vital if they are to beat the Hammers, so a clean sheet for Stoke at 59/20 may be worth a punt.

West Ham have been very inconsistent all season, but they did produce one of their best displays of an indifferent campaign in December when they beat Stoke 3-0 at the bet365 Stadium.

Marko Arnautovic was the architect of that victory and the Austrian, who moved to West Ham from Stoke last summer, is 13/10 to score at any time on Monday.

The Hammers, who are two points worse off than they were at this stage last term, will move nine points clear of the relegation zone and all but guarantee safety for another season if they can beat Stoke but their fans will know their team never does things the easy way.

A victory by a one-goal margin for Stoke appears to be good value at 4/1.

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