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Can Marko Arnautovic fire West Ham to the brink of safety against former club Stoke?

The Hammers take on his former club Stoke on Monday night.

Marko Arnautovic

West Ham can take a massive step towards Premier League safety with victory over struggling Stoke on Monday night.

The Hammers go into the game at the London Stadium six points clear of the relegation zone after following up a resounding win over Southampton with a well-deserved point at Chelsea.

Marko Arnautovic has been key in both of those games but can he deliver a damaging blow to his former side’s own survival bid?

Yes, he will take centre-stage again

Arnautovic struck twice as West Ham thrashed Southampton
Arnautovic struck twice as West Ham thrashed Southampton (Ian Walton/Empics)

Arnautovic struck twice in the 3-0 victory over lowly Southampton, enjoying both goals all the more as they came against a side managed by Mark Hughes.

Hughes was the man in charge at Stoke when Arnautovic left under a cloud last summer and being able to put one over his old boss appeared to spur the 28-year-old on.

Now he has a similar opportunity to push the Potters themselves closer to the trap-door and do not expect any lack of celebration if he turns on the style once more.

No, his inconsistency means he is due a quiet night

Arnautovic has hit a rich vein of form but can occasionally drift to the periphery of games.
Arnautovic has hit a rich vein of form but can occasionally drift to the periphery of games (Daniel Hambury/Empics)

The Austria international is West Ham’s record signing but, despite his clear ability to turn games in favour of the Hammers, he has struggled to make a consistent impact this season.

As is often the way with flair players, it can be a case of all or nothing and, despite scoring in a win at the Bet365 Stadium earlier in the season, Stoke’s defence will know better than anyone how to frustrate Arnautovic.

After his brace against Saints and a vital assist for Javier Hernandez’s equaliser at Chelsea, the former Werder Bremen forward has clearly been enjoying his football lately, but that could easily change.

It depends, which Arnautovic will show up?

Arnautovic was sent off in just his second West Ham appearance
Arnautovic was sent off in just his second West Ham appearance (Adam Davy/PA)

Arnautovic will no doubt be fired up for another meeting with his former club but that can manifest itself in different ways.

Not one to shirk a challenge, he can sometimes be easily riled by the opposition and his game suffers as a result.

Keep his head on his shoulders, however, and David Moyes could get another performance which acts as the catalyst for a win to all-but keep West Ham in the top-flight.

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