Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage from Upton Park where West Ham United
host Stoke City
Today should prove to be a real physical battle between two combative outfits. West Ham are unbeaten so far this season but Stoke are just a point behind.
Let's give you some early team news then and West Ham will be without Alou Diarra, Andy Carroll and George McCartney. The Frenchman's season looks to be over after he suffered knee ligament damage during the week. The other two look likely to return after the international break.
The Hammers have so far beaten Cardiff City this season before drawing 0-0 at Newcastle United last weekend. Stoke were beaten at Liverpool on the opening day before coming from behind to earn victory over Crystal Palace last time out.
Peter Crouch could return for Stoke although Kenwyne Jones may keep his place in the side after hit midweek hattrick. Other than that Jamie Ness is City's only casualty with a thigh injury.
Right, the team news has just been given to me.
WEST HAM XI: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O'Brien, Collins, Reid, Noble, Diame, Nolan, Downing, Jarvis, Maiga
So Modibo Maiga starts up front for the Hammers with wingers Stewart Downing and Matt Jarvis either side of him. It's pretty much as you would expect for the Hammers, who operate a 4-3-3 formation, with Mohamed Diame, captain Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble as the midfielder trio. Guy Demel and Winston Reid are at full-back with Joey O'Brien and James Collins in the middle.
STOKE XI: Begovic, Cameron, Pieters, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, N'Zonzi, Adam, Walters, Etherington, Jones
So despite Peter Crouch being back in the squad, Jones keeps his place up top for the Potters. Big call from Mark Hughes
Jonathan Walters lines up in a five-man midfield, while new recruit Erik Pieters again starts in defence.
The Potters will be looking to put an end to their poor run on the road having won just one of their last 12 away trips. That victory came at Queens Park Rangers in April.
Here are the two substitute benches on show today.
WEST HAM BENCH: Adrian, Rat, Tomkins, Collison, Taylor, Morrison, Lee
STOKE BENCH: Sorensen, Muniesa, Whelan, Pennant, Assaidi, Crouch, Jerome
Not long to kick off now as the teams make their way onto the field.
West Ham are wearing their claret and blue home strip with white shorts and socks. Stoke sporting their black away kit with green trim.
KICKOFF! We're up and underway at Upton Park.
No chances so far with the possession being frequently exchanged between the two sides. It's a very sunny afternoon at Upton Park which means that Jaaskelainen is in a massive shadow.
Jones weaves his way to the edge of the box before winning a corner for Stoke.
Etherington whips the corner in from the right towards the head of Jones, but Jaaskelainen is there to make a good catch under pressure.
CHANCE! It's encouraging stuff from Jones who picks up the ball just over the halfway line and turns away from the two centre-backs. He jostles with Collins all the way to the edge of the box where he unleashes a shot but it's high, wide and not at all handsome.
Not much to report from the last few minutes, but West Ham are growing into the game. It feels like there will be goals here today.
Stoke have been given a free kick slightly to the right of the D about eight yards outside the box. Adam steps up and curls the shot with his left foot, but Jaaskelainen is equal to it.
Downing whips in a cross on the right which causes problems along the Stoke backline. However, Cameron is able to clear the danger before the lurking Jarvis could get a shot in.
Etherington floats in another corner from the right but, again, it's cleared by Collins for West Ham.
SAVE! Terrific opportunity for Stoke. Marc Wilson hits a volley from the edge of the box which is spilled by Jaaskelainen. Walters then closes down the the loose ball and manages to get a shot in but Jaaskelainen somehow manages to get a hand to it and put the ball behind. Great stop.
Stoke have definitely had the best chances so far, West Ham haven't had too much.
Still Stoke control as far as attacking possession is concerned. They need to take one of their chances though before it comes back to bite them.
CHANCE! Great chance for West Ham, the best they have had by a mile. Jarvis gets the ball on the right touchline and puts in a brilliant cross. Maiga wriggles free from the defenders and meets the ball with his head on the penalty spot but can only nod it wide.
The game's gone a bit quiet but West Ham are in control of possession at the moment, which is what they needed given Stoke's dominance so far.
Jones is receiving some treatment currently which has resulted in a stoppage of play. However, it looks as if the big man will be fine to continue.
Jones breaks free on the edge of the box and hits a shot towards goal, but it is brilliantly blocked by a diving Joey O'Brien.
We'll have one minute of added time here.
Huth is limping after a collision in the West Ham box at a corner. Luckily for him, the first half is up.
HALF TIME: West Ham United 0-0 Stoke City
Not the best game in the world but certainly not the worse. Chances have been few and far between but Stoke just edged it for me in that first half.
After a slow start, West Ham did grow into the game and had a wonderful chance through Maiga, but he couldn't convert.
West Ham United:
On target 0
On target 4
The two sides are back out at Upton Park.
KICKOFF! Stoke get the game back underway.
Large stop in play and Winston Read is down receiving some treatment. However, he is back on his feet now and looks as if he can continue.
CLOSE! Having shaken off his injury, Reid rises highest at the far post after getting away from Pieters, but his header flies just over the bar.
Stoke are carrying on from where they left off in the first half with the lion's share of possession. Walters picks up the ball on the edge of the box and hits a shot with his weaker left foot that is horribly off target.
Great chance for Stoke as they bare down on goal with a four on three situation in their favour. The ball is worked to Etherington who is free on the left, and he is about to get a shot away but Collins makes a heroic last-ditch challenge to deny him.
WEST HAM CHANGE Ravel Morrison comes on for the hosts in place of Stewart Downing.
CHANCE! Nzonzi has a go at goal from 30 yards out after bringing the ball forward into free space, but he curves it without the outside of his boot just wide of the near post.
Near chance for West Ham as Stoke fail to clear a corner. The ball is nodded into the path of Reid about 16 yards out, and he hits it on the volley but can only watch it dip just over the bar.
West Ham are now starting to get on top with less than 20 minutes to go.
STOKE CHANGES Charlie Adam and Matthew Etherington are brought off for Glenn Whelan and Jermaine Pennant.
The atmosphere is really picking up at Upton Park as West Ham are being forced to weather the storm of a Stoke attacking onslaught. There hasn't been enough quality in the final third today though, otherwise this could be 3-3.
Free kick to Stoke in a really dangerous position after Diame bundles over Whelan stupidly right on the edge of the D.
YELLOW CARD Winston Reid is given a booking for a show of dissent.
This would have been perfect for Charlie Adam as it's slightly to the right of the D. Pennant is over it.
GOAL! West Ham United 0-1 Stoke City (Jermaine Pennant)
WEST HAM CHANGE Mark Noble has been taken off for the hosts with Jack Collison coming on.
YELLOW CARD Cameron goes into the book for chopping down his man.
WEST HAM CHANGE Elliott Lee is the Hammers’ final change of the match as he replaces Diame.
Four minutes of added time at Upton Park.
YELLOW CARD James Collins gets a booking for a high foot and a bit of dissent.
FULL TIME: West Ham United 0-1 Stoke City
So a rather dull game decided by one moment of magic, as Jermaine Pennant came off the bench to curl in a beautie of a free kick. Stoke probably deserved the win though. West Ham were crying out for Andy Carroll.
That's it from me, stay alert for my analysis piece that will be coming up shortly. Until then, goodbye.