West Brom kicked off 2018 with a game against fellow strugglers West Ham at the London Stadium. Both teams sitting in the dreary depths of the relegation zone prior to kick-off were in dire need of three points. Moreover, the West Brom winless run was at 19 games and frustrations were boiling over.
The game started with both teams mirroring the tension that was radiating from the fans in attendance. Defences on both sides looking suspect as it seemed a scrappy affair would play out, but when a wickedly deflected strike from James McClean found the net on the half hour mark, the first half would spring into life. Ben Foster made a string of saves to keep Albion ahead into the break.
West Ham started the second half with intent and the pressure paid off when a typical Andy Carroll header levelled the game just before the hour. Both sides continued to create chances with no end product until the final seconds of the game. Andy Carroll grabbing his second of the game to stretch Albion’s winless run to 20 games.
Phillips injury woes continue
Just two games after his return from a lengthy absence, Matt Phillips didn’t make the start after pulling up during the warm up. It’s an issue that continues to plague Albion’s season as fellow creative player Nacer Chadli suffers the same fitness issue. Both will be key to West Brom’s survival but neither man is able to string a run of games together.
Gifting points to relegation rivals
In recent weeks, West Brom have suffered defeat to Swansea, Stoke and West Ham. Failure to stop the teams around them walking away with the spoils will ultimately allow them to pull away in the relegation fight. West Brom are bang in trouble and the odd draw against the mid-table sides isn’t going to get them out.
Fixture congestion issue
West Brom faced Arsenal just two days ago whilst West Ham had a five-day break before yesterday’s fixture—an issue raised by Alan Pardew as Albion looked to get this game postponed. With the question of postponement being rejected by the Premier League, West Brom have since lodged a formal complaint. The deciding goal coming in the dying moments of the game will do nothing to ease Pardew’s anger.
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