16th December 2012
Despite losing their last three games, West Brom currently occupy sixth place in the overall standings, but the prospect of returning to top 4 should be enough incentive for the Baggies to give their best in this game. West Ham slipped to the bottom half of the Premier League table as they were beaten at home by Liverpool, and the Hammers now face another tricky tie.
West Bromwich were always going to suffer a dip in form following a tremendous start to the Premier League campaign, but the most important thing is the Baggies are still very much in the top 4 race. Three successive defeats certainly acted as a blow to the players’ confidence, but with so many experienced Premiership footballers in the squad, Steve Clarke’s side should have no problems returning to winning ways. Injuries to star players, namely holding midfielder Claudio Yacob, definitely took the wind out of their sails, but with several important players back in the squad for the West Ham clash, the Baggies should look much better than they did during the past few weeks. The 6-0-2 home record, only lost to City and Stoke, is another reason for optimism for Steve Clarke’s men. The talented manager has admitted no less than six players are doubtful for the West Ham game, with Ben Foster, Claudio Yacob and Liam Ridgewell some of them.
Even before the season started, West Ham were tipped to finish highest of the three promoted sides and the Hammers quickly showed they might even be able to avoid the relegation tussle. Very good showings at their Boleyn Ground and away victories over out-of-form QPR and Newcastle saw West Ham climb to the top half of the standings, although I seriously doubt they will be able to stay there. With star midfielder Momo Diame set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines and Andy Carroll still sidelined through injury, the Hammers could be in for a difficult few weeks and their poor run seems to have already started. Three defeats in last four Premier League games should be a cause for concern, even if they played the likes of Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool during that period. Left-back George McCartney is doubtful with a knee problem, while Andy Carroll, Momo Diame, Ricardo Vaz Te, Jack Collison and Alou Diarra are definitely out.
West Brom may have lost their last three Premier League fixtures, but the Baggies have shown a lot of promise this season and their impeccable home record should keep them in good stead for the West Ham game. The Hammers are clearly on the downtrend and numerous selection problems will further damage their chances of getting something from the Hawthorns.
Verdict: Home win West Brom (1)
Best Odds: 21/20
Bookmaker: Paddy Power
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