|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Adrián and Jack Butland star as Stoke City and West Ham hit stalemate
Date Published Saturday 29 April 2017 17.22 BST
Mark Hughes believes Jack Butland is already back to his best, after the Stoke City keeper kept a clean sheet in front of the England manager, Gareth Southgate, in just his second game since returning from a 13-month injury lay-off.
Butland twice denied André Ayew – once from an overhead kick – and used his leg to thwart Manuel Lanzini as the Potters recorded a 0-0 draw with West Ham United in their goalkeeper’s first home appearance since March 2016.
It was while playing for England in Germany that month that Butland fractured his ankle, and two further setbacks kept the 24-year-old sidelined until his comeback at Swansea City last weekend.
Southgate, who had swerved the Manchester derby to watch rugby league on Thursday, will have been encouraged by Butland’s performance ahead of England’s games with Scotland and France in June, and Hughes knows his ambition is to be his country’s No1 again.
“When you have got dominance, sometimes the opposition can break and make chances, and you need a top-class keeper to make match-defining saves, and that is what Jack did,” said the Stoke manager after the stalemate at the bet365 Stadium.
“All top clubs need keepers like Jack. There have been a couple of false dawns. It has taken 12 months to get him back and we are all delighted he is showing the form he did prior to the injury.
“Jack enjoys the England setup. He had just broken in at senior level, but first things first – we are just two games into his return.
“We were caught out just prior to the start of the season, when he broke down again. Clearly his ambition is to be the No1 keeper for England. Gareth knows him, and I am sure the reason he was here today was to see him. I think he was his captain in the Under-21 setup.”
The draw moved Stoke up to the 40-point mark in the Premier League, while West Ham are only one away from such a figure after a game in which they needed Adrián’s brilliant one-handed save to deny Saido Berahino a maiden Stoke goal, and his first for anyone in 427 days.
Berahino’s barren spell has not stopped Stoke’s supporters warming to the striker and his luckless start to life in Staffordshire was summed up when he lost this footing as Xherdan Shaqiri looked to play him through.
Another block, this time from José Fonte, prevented him from converting Joe Allen’s cross, while the former Southampton captain was equally alert to stop Marko Arnautovic turning home Glen Johnson’s pull across.
The Hammers lacked creativity outside of Lanzini, but Ayew did display some ingenuity with an overhead kick that provided Butland with his first test.
West Ham are eight points above the drop zone, though that margin could be trimmed to five again if Swansea win away to Manchester United on Sunday, and their manager, Slaven Bilic, is not prepared to declare safety as a certainty ahead of contests with Tottenham, Liverpool and Burnley.
“We need more points, it may be enough,” Bilic said. “We don’t want to come into the last game of the season with the radio on and keep asking ‘what is the score there?’. We would love to avoid it.
“We are not panicking, but we are not safe. Nine points to play for. We need more points.”
MATCH FACTS, RATINGS, TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
STOKE (4-3-3): Butland 7.5; Johnson 6.5, Shawcross 6, Martins Indi 6.5, Muniesa 6; Allen 6.5 (Crouch 70 6), Whelan 6 (Adam 80 6), Cameron 6; Shaqiri 6, Berahino 6.5, Arnautovic 5.5
Subs not used: Grant, Bardsley, Pieters, Diouf, Ramadan
WEST HAM (3-5-2): Adrian 8; Fonte 7, Reid 7, Collins 6.5; Fernandes 7, Kouyate 7, Nordtveit 6, Lanzini 6, Masuaku 6 (Cresswell 45 6.5); Ayew 6 (Noble 69 6), Calleri 5.5 (Snodgrass 80 5.5)
Subs not used: Randolph, Feghouli, Byram, Fletcher
Referee: Lee Probert 7
Man of the Match: Jack Butland