English Premiership

Hammers draw blank against Stoke

2015-12-12 19:29
West Ham logo (File)

London - West Ham were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw against Stoke as the injury-hit hosts failed to turn their pressure into goals at Upton Park on Saturday.

Slaven Bilic's side dominated for long periods and hit the woodwork through Mauro Zarate, but they have now gone six Premier League matches without a win.

Stoke remain in mid-table after producing another obdurate display that underlined why they have kept seven clean sheets in their last nine league games.

Bilic was forced to make two changes from the line-up that drew at Manchester United last weekend with Winston Reid and Victor Moses sidelined with injuries that further weakened a team already missing Dimitri Payet, Diafra Sakho and Manuel Lanzini.

Stoke had also suffered an injury blow late in the week when Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri was ruled out with an illness.

Shaqiri's replacement, Marco van Ginkel, almost put Stoke ahead when he stretched to reach Ibrahim Afellay's cross, but instead of making contact with the ball the Dutch midfielder caught West Ham goalkeeper Adrian with an eye-watering blow in the groin area.

Van Ginkel wasted an even better chance moments later, scuffing wide from close-range from another dangerous Afellay delivery.

Marko Arnautovic netted twice in Stoke's surprise 2-0 win over Manchester City last weekend and the Austria striker threatened to break the deadlock when he narrowly failed to turn in Glen Johnson's cross.

Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross was involved in a bruising battle with Andy Carroll, at one point pole-axing the Hammers striker with a block that left him needing treatment on his face.

Carroll was undeterred and came close to opening the scoring in the 49th minute with a powerful header that forced a good stop from Jack Butland.

Butland did well to deny Carroll again midway through the half, while Stoke mounted a rare attack that saw Arnautovic hit the bar with a deflected free-kick.

Zarate almost won it for West Ham in the closing stages when he cleverly worked space for a 20-yard strike that cannoned back off a post with Butland beaten.

Stoke substitute Mame Diouf was sent clear by Arnautovic in the closing moments, but Adrian made the save to ensure a share of the spoils.

 

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