West Bromwich Albion will be nervously looking at how close they are to the relegation zone and will know that nothing less than a win over West Ham United will assure them of staying outside the bottom three for another week at least.
The Baggies suffered a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad on Monday night but still have a game in hand and a three point advantage over Cardiff City and Fulham. Victory would take them level just behind West Ham on points and could lift them to as high as 13th place depending on results elsewhere.
West Ham may be in a fairly good position in regards to the relegation battle but Sam Allardyce will know that one slip could throw them into the mire that bottom five currently find themselves in. However, a win would all but confirm West Ham’s survival in the Premier League and so the game promises to be a good one for neutrals.
Liam Ridgewell and Zoltan Gera are both out of action due to injury, although Pepe Mel may yet be able to pick Gareth McAuley for the West Brome line-up if he passes a late fitness test.
Sam Allardyce has most of his squad available to him for selection. However, Guy Demel and Marco Borriello will be unavailable due to injury.
- West Brom have a poor record against their East London counterparts, winning just once in their last 10 league meetings.
- Seven of the last eight goals West Brom have scored have been before half time.
- West Brom have won fewer league games than anyone else in the league this season, despite finding themselves three points clear of the relegation zone.
- West Ham have lost six of their last eight league games.
- They have also been unable to keep a clean sheet in their last nine games.
- Andy Carroll has scored three goals against West Brom in the league. The only club he has managed more against is Manchester City (5).
Dorrans has been unavailable for most of the season and has only been able to make 10 appearances as a result for West Brom. In his limited time however, he has managed to achieve an 82% pass accuracy with 252 successful passes from 306 attempts. Looking into his passing in further detail, we can see that Dorrans plays most of his passes forward at 37%. Fans of the club will likely be happy to know that he plays the fewest number of passes backwards at just 17%. However, when you look at what areas of the pitch he is passing in, it serves as an indicator of how ineffective West Brom have been going forward this season. The midfielder has a 90% pass accuracy in the defensive third, compared to just 65% in the attacking zone and a slightly better 73% in the final third. Despite this, West Brom fans will still be glad to see him back in the fold and will hope he can reward their patience with a good performance.
Noble has been ever present for West Ham this season, starting every league game so far. The midfielder has been active in all areas of the pitch and his performances have led to calls for him to receive a call-up to England’s World Cup squad. Noble has been accurate with 83% of his passes in open play this season and has also been successful with 69.39% of his 98 attempted tackles. Looking at his defensive attributes in particular, we see that he has won possession back 288 times (most of which has been in the defensive and midfield thirds). This equates to him winning possession of the ball every 11 minutes on average. At the other end of the pitch, he has created 54 chances for his team mates and four of these have resulted in assists. He has even managed to score three goals despite playing mostly in his own defensive third, so it is no surprise to hear calls for his World Cup place. West Brom will have to be wary of Noble if they are to get anything from this game.
Both teams have their reasons for much needed wins in this game but with West Brom’s fairly average form at home and West Ham’s poor away form this season, I can only see this resulting in a 1-1 draw.