West Ham United will be aiming to pick up their first win in four Premier League matches when host a West Bromwich Albion side which will still be buzzing after their win over title hopefuls Arsenal last time out.
Manager Slaven Bilic will have been reasonably happy with the first 20 minutes of West Ham’s last game at London rivals Tottenham, but from the moment they fell behind his tactics began to unravel. Playing as the lone striker, Andy Carroll struggled and did not look fully match-fit, while the talents of Diafra Sakho were rather wasted by his deployment at wide right. The Senegal international cut a very frustrated figure for the most part as his side were unable to make any headway going forward.
To see Mark Noble playing ahead of the often more progressive Cheikhou Kouyate in midfield also came as something of a surprise, so a lot might change from the Hammers coming into this one. To be where they are in the table at this stage still represents a fine start to the season, but they do not want their winless run to continue for much longer. With Dimitri Payet absent for some time, the in-form Manuel Lanzini will be man looked upon for inspiration.
After falling behind, there did not seem to be any way back for West Brom last weekend as Arsenal were stamping their authority right across the Hawthorns, dominating the possession and looking odds on to score again. But they eased off in the minutes prior to half-time, allowing Tony Pulis’ team to punish them and claim just their second home win of the campaign and lift them to the security of 12th place, some eight points above the bottom three.
While Salomon Rondon is the only striker finding the net on a semi-regular basis, Albion are having to look for goals elsewhere in their team and James Morrison is the man who has delivered this term. The Scottish midfielder has had rather a lean time of things over the past two years, but thanks to having Darren Fletcher and Claudio Yacob as a secure holding pair behind him, he has been rejuvenated and will be looking to seize on any break in the Hammers defence here.
Noble will be unavailable for West Ham here due to suspension, so either Pedro Obiang or Alexandre Song – who have both just returned from injury – will come in.
Gareth McAuley is welcomed back by West Brom following a one-match ban, but they will be without Chris Brunt.
Last Meeting: Tony Pulis had just been appointed as West Brom’s new Head Coach and was watching from the stands as they claimed a 1-1 draw at West Ham on New Year’s Day. Saido Berahino was the man responsible for earning a point as he fired in a cross from Stephane Sessegnon, cancelling a 10th minute header from Diafra Sakho.