Saturday 26 April 2014

Hammers Face Thorny Trip to Albion in dogfight between the Westies

Our expert responds to suggestions that Sam might chnage his tactics
While Hammers fans have continued to reassure eachother that they are safe from relegation for this season, they still need a result to make that statistically correct and with games rapidly running out, will be keen to finally put any lingering doubts to bed. Albion, meanwhile, are up to their necks in trouble resting just above the drop zone with the clubs below them suddenly pulling out all sorts of amazing results.
The clash of these sides earlier in the season was a remarkable encounter as a makeshift Hammers defence was savaged by Le Sulk who celebrated with 'that' gesture. The rest has been done to death and ultimately much of the Baggies woe stems from the failure of Anelka to deliver the crucial strikes that would have earned them the couple of wins they have needed to be clear of the relegation lottery.

Instead, they have stuttered along as draw specialists, unable to kill off games. If they do get sucked into the bottom three come season's finale, they will surely also look to the ridiculous late penalty award that robbed them of a victory against Chelsea back in November. Neutrals, however, may point to the managerial chaos that followed Steve Clarke's dismissal as a key element in their difficulties - a theme that has characterised the relagation battle this year with only Crystal Pulis smiling after opting for radical managerial intervention. Sticking with Allardyce during the December crisis looks like a wise call by the West Ham directors but the future looks set to see this issue revisited. 
The speculation over Big Sam's future continues to gather momentun and is set to be informed by a massive poll of fans regarding his suitability to remain at the helm next year. results of this poll are set to be announced soon after it closes on Sunday evening - so if you haven't voted yet, it's a good time to have your say. The survey takes less than a minute and you can access it at
The teamsheets suggest that both sides are going to throw themselves at this one - the Baggies have the lowest number of victories this season, mainly due to their capacity to leak goals in the final ten minutes, while the Hammers early season defensive parsimony has disappeared as they are now 9 games without a clean sheet. Interestingly, Norbert McShitstats, our in-house dweeb has informed us that over the 97 previous contests between these two sides, the goal tally is 157 apiece!

Guy Demel returns at right back, while it's disappointment for Pablo Armero who is dropped and Georgie McCartney take up the honours at left back. With the pace of Albion down the flanks, and the desire to get a better look at Armero with a view to a more permanent move in the Summer, this seems a strange decision.

The 'Westies' have it out

A point would be reassuring but Albion's greater needs may prevail. Hmmm. Downing to break his Hammers duck in a 2-2 thriller?
West Ham: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney, Nolan, Noble, Diame, Jarvis, Carroll, Downing
West Brom: Foster, Reid, Dawson, Olsson, Jones, Amalfitano, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Brunt, Sessegnon, Berahino

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