It's been a terrible year - it started with the loss of Dimitri Payet and has ended with us lying in the relegation zone. SuperSlaven Bilic has departed after a poor start to the new season and David Moyes has arrived as the supposed saviour. So far with two wins in ten games Moyes can hardly claim to have changed much but we live in hope.
As we entered Christmas there was a sense of genuine hope - a cracking win against Chelsea and a draw with the Gooners, alongside a decent crack at Man City and we rightly felt our defensive woes were over. The dismantling of Stoke looked like the start of a charge up the table but then we follow up by losing at home to a poor Newcastle side and throw away a win against Bournemouth in injury time, on each occasion shipping three goals to pretty blunt opposition!
Many fans have focused upon the stunningly poor decision of Bobby Madley et al in allowing a blatantly off side and handled goal by Callum Wilson, but you'd have to query how the hell Bournemouth managed to get a chance to score the goal in the first place. having been gifted a win by Begovic's double goalkeeping howlers, how did a speculative lofted ball into the box end up in our net?
And while we are in whinge mode, we need to face up to the fact that we still lack a decent striker. Andy Carroll and Sakho are too unreliable and at this stage most fans feel should be moved on. Worryingly, Chicharito has stuttered since his arrival and needs a decent second half to the season if he is to justify his signing. After a flying start with a brace against Southampton in August he has managed just 2 more goals in 16 appearances. Is it him or the service?
The January window is rarely a place where good business is done by purchasing clubs. We still need another 6 wins to reach the magical ten it usually takes to stay up, let's start with a much needed win over Pardew's Baggies. Languishing below us in 19th and with two wins all season this is a relegation six pointer.
Mark Lawrenson predicts a 1-1 draw. One suspects that Pards will look to keep it tight and hope to snatch a win. We reckon Moyes will outfox the Baggies - an early goal would work wonders in opening up the cagey Baggies. Whichever striker we start with will have plenty to prove.
Anyone for a 3-1 home victory?