Preview - West Bromwich Albion
Where and when?
West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United
Saturday 17 September 2016, 3pm BST
What's the story?
West Ham United will look to get the start to their 2016/17 Premier League
season back on track when they travel to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Having tasted defeat in three of their opening four games, Slaven Bilic's
side will be hoping for a quick turnaround against the Baggies – who sit
12th in the table after taking four points so far. Their points came from a
1-0 victory at Crystal Palace on the opening day and a 0-0 home draw against
Middlesbrough in their final game before the international break. Everton
and Bournemouth have both claimed maximum points against the Baggies this
term, while they exited the EFL Cup on penalties to League One side
Northampton Town after a 2-2 draw.
Off the pitch, a takeover was this week completed, with Chinese businessman
Guochuan Lai taking the reins from Jeremy Peace. West Ham, meanwhile,
suffered the shock of losing a two-goal lead en route to defeat against
Watford last time out, while their away games to date have returned losses
at Chelsea and Manchester City.
Mark Noble suffered a hand injury in last weekend's game against Watford,
and required eight stitches in a wound, but has trained this week wearing a
protective brace and will be fit to play. Elsewhere, Aaron Cresswell and
Andre Ayew are making good progress in their rehabilitation from knee and
thigh injuries but remain sidelined, while Andy Carroll is also out with a
knee problem. Alvaro Arbeloa is getting up to speed following his arrival on
deadline day, and looks set to make his Hammers bow in Wednesday's EFL Cup
tie against Accrington Stanley.
For the Baggies, deadline day arrival Hal Robson-Kanu could be involved for
the first time, while midfielder James Morrison is close to a return
following his hamstring injury. However, this match might come around too
Any links between the two?
No current Hammer or Baggie has turned out for the other club, although West
Brom's Hal Robson-Kanu is a Wales teammate of James Collins, and James
McClean travelled to Euro 2016 with Ireland – as did West Ham's Darren
Randolph. Last season, the Hammers enjoyed an awayday to remember at The
Hawthorns as a Mark Noble double, added to Cheikhou Kouyate's opener,
secured a 3-0 victory. At the Boleyn Ground, the two teams played out a 1-1
draw. Mauro Zarate's free-kick gave the Hammers an early lead, but the
unfortunate Winston Reid scored a second half own goal to level the scores.
How do I get to the game?
Click here for directions to the Hawthorns. You can find the latest news on
the roads here, and the trains here.
How can I watch the game?
The match will not be broadcast live in the UK, but supporters can follow
all the action as it happens on whufc.com and across our social channels.
Supporters outside the UK may be able to watch the match live, depending on
their location. Click here for full broadcast schedules.
Slaven Speaks - West Brom
Slaven Bilic faced the media ahead of the Premier League game against West
Brom on Saturday. The Hammers boss provided the latest team-news and hopes
to see his team get straight back on the winning trail when they travel to
How do you view what happened last weekend and how do you propose to put
things right when you play West Brom on Saturday?
SB: "It was not good last weekend. We had individual mistakes and lost
confidence as a team. "The second goal was not about team defending, it was
simply a mis-understanding between a couple of players tat you see once a
season in a team. "I was not happy with the defending for some of the other
goals but we have worked on that and spoke about things behind closed-doors.
We had a really good meeting and now we are waiting to see the reaction from
Are you going to make any changes to the defence ahead of the game?
SB: "We can make a couple of changes but with every goal you are always
going to say it is always the defenders who are to blame for the goals.
"This is a game of mistakes but we have to defend better and defend like we
did this season against Bournemouth and the way we defended last season."
Would it help you if Alvaro Arbeloa is ready to make his debut for the Club?
SB: "Alvaro has more experience and we brought him here to play. He is not
here to be on the coaching staff. We needed one more player there and he is
available. He has quality.
"We are happy to have him here. But we also have Sam Byram and he is part of
the team. He is a young player who needs the team around him to play well
and then he can flourish.
"You cannot put all the blame on his young shoulders. Like any young player
he needs help from the team. He cannot be left isolated and one on one
situations. We have seen Ighalo do that every week and it was not about
Arbeloa playing or not playing."
On a positive note you must be very happy with the partnership that Michail
Antonio and Dimitri Payet forged last weekend?
SB: "Michail is scoring goals and has been brilliant. He has scored with
four headers and is very direct. He is linking up with Dimitri and it is
good. It happened last year many times.
"When the ball goes into the box if we don't have Andy Carroll, then it is
Michail who has the best opportunity to beat the defenders to the ball."
How close is Andy Carroll to making a first-team return?
SB: "Andy is much better now and has started running now. He will not be
available for West Brom but he is improving big time and very soon we will
have a full squad. "Sakho and Cresswell will be back soon. Aaron is
sprinting already and Ayew will be back sooner than what was expected."
What do you make of West Brom this season and how much would you would like
to repeat the 3-0 victory you had at the Hawthorns back in April?
SB: "They have a good team and have been playing good football. Even when we
won 3-0 they started the game very well and had a shot blocked on the line.
"They are playing good football and we know Tony Pulis and I have a big
respect for him and the job he is doing every year. "We are confident
because of what happened and it is good to have positive memories because
the result was only back in April."
London derby awaits for confident Hammers
West Ham United Under 18s take on Fulham away from home on Saturday
Winger Anthony Scully believes the young Hammers are brimming with
self-belief ahead of the game
Scully also said he's enjoying his change of position on the pitch
Anthony Scully is relishing the prospect of a clash with London rivals
Fulham this weekend as the U18s aim to get back to winning ways. The Hammers
won their first two league matches against Reading and Tottenham Hotspur but
have since been beaten by Southampton and were held to a draw by Leicester
City. Though they couldn't achieve maximum points in their last outings,
performances have still been strong according to Scully. "Against Leicester
we should have won and against Southampton we shouldn't have lost," the
midfielder said. "Little lapses in concentration have cost us a couple of
times. "If you look at the stats [against Leicester], we dominated the
majority of the match. Then a mistake and a few little cheap errors brought
Leicester back into the game and it ended up 2-2. "The way we played was
very positive and we're going to take that into the next game."
After having a couple of seasons blighted by injury, the 17-year-old is
enjoying a consistent run of games this year. Having featured in all of the
U18s' matches so far, Scully has even been putting in extra training
sessions to improve and refine parts of his game. The teenager has also been
revelling in a change of position, which has seen him move out to the left –
an alteration from playing centrally over the past few seasons. "I thought I
did well out there in the last game. This season I'm playing in a new
position because I usually play more central and I'm enjoying it," he said.
"I'm looking forward to getting some goals and getting some assists like I
have been. I've had to change the positions I pick up because they're
different when you play out wide, so I've had to learn a lot. "I've had lots
of help from the coaches here and my dad used to play as a winger so I've
had help from him. I'm learning quickly and enjoying the position."
Steve Potts' team visit Fulham on Saturday and Scully is expecting he and
his teammates to focus fully on their own performance. The young Hammers
could jump to second in the U18 Premier League South Division with a victory
at the Fulham Training Ground (kick-off at 11am). "We can't wait for the
game this weekend, but we look forward to every game. Every game is going to
be important this year," Scully continued. "Personally, my aim is to win the
league so we're going to need to get the win against Fulham. "We're focusing
on our own game, if we play the way we know we can, we should have no
Foundation celebrate national award nomination for staff member
West Ham United Foundation are delighted to announce that Austin Hughes,
Senior Inclusion Officer, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national
award in recognition of his work as a role model in grass-root communities,
tackling the issues in today's society.
Austin received over 250 nominations for the 'Positive Role Model Award for
Disability' and is one of 8 shortlisted contenders from a pool of tens of
thousands across the country.
The awards ceremony will take place on Friday 16th September at the Anglican
Cathedral in Liverpool, hosted by comedian and broadcaster Richard
Blackwood, and will see winners across 16 categories collect silverware for
their achievements in championing diversity in the UK.
Austin, who recently joined the Foundation's community team, is responsible
for promoting inclusion and diversity across our work in East London and
Essex, and will be working across a number of West Ham United Foundation
projects to ensure events are accessible to everyone in the community. By
delivering workshops for parents, carers and local community projects,
Austin will lead the way in supporting those with Autism, sharing best
practice to enable other organisations to cater for people with SEN.
Sham Motin, Community Sports Manager (and Austin's boss), said: "Before
joining the Foundation, Austin had been working for Anna Kennedy online,
supporting young people and adults with autism. This made him the perfect
candidate to help us reach our target of ensuring all Foundation initiatives
are fully inclusive by 2025. Being on the spectrum himself, Austin fully
understands the issues and problems faced when participating in sports and
working in a sports and educational background."
Everyone at the West Ham United Foundation is extremely proud of Austin's
efforts in supporting the local community, and we wish him the best of luck
in the awards.
Lewis - Slaven will turn things around
Daily Mirror football writer Darren Lewis believes it is only a question of
time before Slaven Bilic gets his team back on the winning trail.
Lewis draws strong comparisons with last year after the Hammers suffered a
home defeat against Bournemouth and then managed to turn their season
He sees no reason why they cannot do the same thing again and hopes the
likes of Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini will continue to show their best
skills and entertain everyone in the Premier League.....
I think Slaven will turn things around. I remember last season after the
Club were beaten by Bournemouth and Slaven said he felt under pressure.
After the press conference had finished, a few of us could not believe what
he said as it was so early in the season.
I look at the West Ham squad now and there is so much reason for them to be
confident that things can improve.
One concern could surround the defence and a few people have wanted to see
another defender brought into the club, but offensively West Ham are
There has been a debate this week that Watford were motivated to beat West
Ham last weekend because of the tricks and the flicks that the likes of
Payet and Lanzini were showing in the opening half an hour.
But I don't think there is anything wrong with players of that quality
expressing themselves on the pitch.
The fans pay good money to see that and long may the likes of Payet continue
to show off their tricks on the football pitch. I don't have a problem with
I don't believe Payet was being arrogant and he was just being Dimitri
Payet. The goals West Ham conceded were of their own making.
The goal Troy Deeney scored just before half-time was down to a lack of
understanding and communication between Adrian and James Collins.
For us as journalists, Deeney's comments make great copy, but when you
analyse the performance there were a lot of self-inflicted injuries that
contributed to the result.
I think there is enough about the West Ham team to wake up and get started.
It is just taking time for everything to come together at West Ham United
When you look at the front six players there is a lot of creativity with the
likes of Payet, Lanzini and Michail Antonio who is now playing in his right
position and scoring goals.
His record is up there with the best players in the Premier League at the
moment. His ability to get into dangerous positions and finish off the
chances he gets is fantastic.
It is now time for the defensive players to do their job. They got a lot of
credit for the way they defended last year and they now need to bring that
into this season.
Looking ahead to the game on Saturday, if West Ham are focused they can come
away with a good result, but it will not be easy as West Brom are very
organised and efficient under Tony Pulis.
The thing that could work in West Ham's favour is that there is a lot going
on behind the scenes at West Brom and a lot of uncertainty surrounding the
There are a couple of disillusioned players after what has happened during
the summer and maybe this could work to West Ham's advantage. For once it
might help them not being at home.
I expect it to be a very tight match and if West Ham win it will be by the
RETRO HAMMERS: VICTOR OBINNA AND PABLO BARRERA
BY EXWHUEMPLOYEE ON 16 SEPTEMBER 2016 AT 2:22PM
This article is written by Joe Difford @JoeDifford
With Michail Antonio's phenomenal start to the new season back in his
favoured attacking wide position, it seems fitting to look back at two past
wingers who played in the famous claret and blue for this week's Retro
Our first former Hammer was lightening fast and unusually strong, like
Antonio, but sadly was part of Avram Grant's relegated side.
Victor Obinna only spent one year on loan for West Ham United, but caught
the eye courtesy of his powerful runs and ambitious shots from distance.
His best moment in claret and blue came when he netted a hat trick in an FA
Cup clash with Nottingham Forest. His worst, being sent off in our first leg
of the semi final of the League Cup, when the Nigerian kicked Seb Larsson in
an area no man wants to be kicked.
The loan deal came with an option to buy from his parent club Inter Milan,
but despite Jose Mourinho stating that he was one of the best talents for
the future, he left after the single year in East London.
Obinna was fortunate before joining the Hammers to survive a car crash, with
the vehicle flipping several times, but the winger luckily suffered no
serious injuries, and did a backflip celebration himself when he netted in
the League Cup at the Boleyn Ground.
Since 2014, Obinna has only played a handful of times, despite being a
highly sought after player before his move to West Ham.
Another winger who failed to thrive under Avram Grant was Mexican
international, Pablo Barrera. If you remember the name, it probably conjures
up images of him sprinting down the wing and whipping in perfect crosses in
his bright yellow boots. But of course, this never happened.
Barrera was tipped to be a great success when he joined in 2010 for around
£4 million, but after a total of no goals and no assists in his debut
season, it was clear that this was not to be the case.
After an inevitable move away to Real Zaragoza, Barrera began to impress,
but as the season went on and managers changed, the former Hammer dropped
down the pecking order.
Barrera now plays his football at Mexican side UNAM, and joins Victor Obinna
on the list of former West Ham wingers who were expected to be great, but
failed to live up to expectations.
Let's hope that Antonio's Retro Hammer article in ten years will be far more
MARK NOBLE-A TRULY GREAT CAPTAIN!
BY EXWHUEMPLOYEE ON 16 SEPTEMBER 2016 AT 11:32AM
This article is written by Luke Malden @LukeyMalden
As we approach the first season at our new exciting home, we should feel
really privileged with the number of leaders and the passion surrounding the
club. The club is in the best position it has ever been in, and we have to
put that down to the quality ownership of David Sullivan and David Gold
right through to the way Slaven has inspired our players. Julian Dicks
coming back instantly warmed the hearts of the fans, and him being around
means players know they will get it from him if they don't give 110%.
The real leader of this football club, though, is Mark Noble, who has come a
very long way in terms of maturity, ability and leadership. I remember
standing in the stands at Watford away in the Championship singing 'He's
only 17, he's better than Roy Keane, Mark Noble woahhh' as he nervously
smiled and applauded the fans, but you could tell he loved it. From then,
he's progressed as the real Mr West Ham and every fan could see he was going
to gain the most respect ahead of anyone at this club with the passion he
showed. From tears on the pitch to his farewell speech on the last night at
the Boleyn, the bloke's passion gives me real goose bumps. It really goes to
show how not only we have one of the best set of owners in the country, we
may just have one of the best captains also, certainly in comparison to our
I'm talking Lucas Neil and Matthew Upson, defenders who were on ridiculous
money at the time we had the wrong sort of leadership all around the club,
but you could tell the likes of Upson and Lucas Neil would take their money
and could leave with a bad result, whereas Noble is the type to put it right
in the next game and understands the fans' passion and frustration at a bad
I thought it was quite brave of Upson to turn up at Noble's testimonial
after deserting the club he captained as soon as we got relegated; I found
that disrespectful, and it has stuck with me the way he was on a huge wage
and was happy just to clear off at the end of the 2010/2011 campaign in the
I believe Noble's been able to adapt and thrive in a captain's position,
through inspiration from the likes of Kevin Nolan and Scott Parker. Whatever
people may have to say about Kevin Nolan, despite his work rate being
questionable at times, his leadership and dedication were top class. His
working relationship with Sam Allardyce obviously helped him fit into the
role of being at an East End club with high expectations and he dealt with
the stick well. You could tell he cared. He'd pop up with goals, always
applaud the fans, lead the team, instruct the team and had the look about
him that said he wouldn't take any rubbish.
Before then, obviously Scott Parker was a quality captain, with his "never
say die" attitude and being a typical crowd pleaser, with only being a box
to box midfielder but being a goal scorer that would always put his neck on
the line. He became a complete fans' favourite, and despite joining our
rivals Tottenham, he still showed the passion for the club and could tell
the players around him looked up to him as being the "go to" man, another
iconic character for Noble to admire.
What players don't understand these days is there are so many little things
that they could be doing to put a smile on the faces of the fans, whether
that being throwing a shirt in the crowd at the end of a game or having a
laugh and a joke with the fans on Twitter. Fans warm to posts so easily on
social media these days and you can instantly become a fans favourite by
putting in 110% on the pitch, applauding the fans at the end of the game and
even thanking the fans publicly on social media. As well as that, having
humour helps; reverting back to social media and the video of Kouyate
singing 'we've got Payet' at the Player Awards: small things like that give
the fans something to have a laugh about and show the players who often
graft the most also have a humorous side that they want to express.
Noble you have to say has all of that in one; he has his dopey grim which
makes him look like he's up to no good playing pranks on players, but knows
when he steps foot on that pitch him and the 10 players in claret and blue
around him have to all do the same thing. He not only makes it easy for
players to settle around but being a West Ham boy himself, knows what
pleases the crowd, and it is simply putting in 150%. I truly believe Noble
is one of the reasons Payet does so well for us and we should really cherish
and be thankful for the position we are now in, with the best owners in the
land, Super Slav and Noble as captain… They all know what the fans want.
Arbeloa set for Stanley debut
Filed: Friday, 16th September 2016
By: Staff Writer
West Ham United's latest recruit should be fit enough to make his debut
against Accrington Stanley, says club doc Stijn Vandenbroucke. Alvaro
Arbeloa was confirmed as United's final arrival of the summer transfer
window a mere matter of hours ahead of the transfer deadline last month. And
the former Spanish international - who only played a handful of first team
matches for Real Madrid last season - has been hard at work as he battles to
regain match fitness. "Alvaro is working very hard on the training pitch,
having arrived with us in a good physical condition," Vandenbroucke told
whufc.com. "If all goes to plan, he will be available to play some part in
the EFL Cup against Accrington Stanley next week."
However definitely unavailable for that game are strike duo Andy Carroll and
forgotten man Diafra Sakho. "Andy had a good week during which he has made
good progress," added Vandenbroucke. "He is working hard, but it will take
time before he is ready to return to action. "Diafra is also progressing. He
has been running up and down the stairs at the London Stadium and skipping
as he continues to build up his fitness. He's now ready to take the next
stage by increasing his training." Vandenbroucke also revealed that club
captain Mark Noble received "eight stitches in his left hand after a Watford
player trod on it" following last weekend's 4-2 home defeat, but expects to
be available for the trip to West Bromwich Albion this weekend.
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic tells star men to carry on entertaining -
provided there's purpose
13:35, 16 SEP 2016 UPDATED 13:36, 16 SEP 2016
BY DARREN LEWIS
The Hammers threw away a two-goal lead against Watford to lose 4-2 last
weekend, with Hornets skipper Troy Deeney critical of their flamboyance
Slaven Bilic has told his West Ham stars: 'Keep on entertaining'. The
Hammers boss backed his players despite criticism from Watford's Troy Deeney
who claimed last week that their overly-flamboyant display had inspired the
Hornets to come back from two goals down to win 4-2. Deeney had been
particularly stung by Dimitri Payet's decision to produce a rabona to set up
Michael Antonio's goal for 2-0. Defending his side's right to express
themselves, Bilic said: "[Deeney] is a great player and a very clever
player. It was smart to say that. But I didn't see that to be fair. "It
might look for some people like that because it was good for them because
they turned the game around. "It is a good story - 2-0, go to sleep and then
4-2. They woke up. "But I am here for more than a year now and I haven't
seen my players underestimate any team we have played so far, even Watford.
"We spoke before the game and knew we were facing a really good team, we
expected a tough game and we were right. It is just a clever statement from
West Ham, still with just one win all season, travel to West Brom tomorrow
bidding to kick-start their campaign. Bilic maintained he'd still have no
issues with any of his players attempting rabonas in the right circumstances
at The Hawthorns. "It doesn't bother me if it ends with a goal or a good
pass." he said. "If you make [rabonas] without any benefit, sometimes it is
good for the confidence or the crowd, if there is no harm out of that. "It
would bother me if it was harming the team, not losing the ball, but slowing
your action, it would bother me slightly."
West Ham need to focus on new battle at London Stadium - Trevor Sinclair
By Trevor Sinclair
BBC MOTD pundit and former West Ham winger
West Ham do not just have off-field issues to contend with since their move
to London Stadium - they have got problems on the pitch too. Injuries have
hit my old club hard, especially in attack and with the more creative
players in their squad, but there are other reasons Slaven Bilic's side are
struggling for form. Last weekend's 4-2 defeat by Watford was a good example
of their current issues. The Hammers started well then got a bit complacent
and stopped doing the basics - working hard for each other, allied with good
organisation - that helped them do so well last season.
West Ham 2-4 Watford: What happened to the Hammers?
If you compare their focus, discipline and the intensity of their play then,
to what we have seen from them so far in 2016-17, then it is no wonder their
performances and results have dropped off. Their only league win so far came
against Bournemouth, when they kind of fell over the line with a late winner
against 10 men. Against most other Premier League teams they would not have
got away with it, but fortunately for them they were up against another team
who looked a little bit undercooked early in the season. In every area of
attack and defence, West Ham are less effective so far than they were last
season, when they finished seventh. It is very early days but Bilic has a
lot of work to do to get them back to that level, and he has to do it
quickly. Looking at the fixture list, West Ham have got a run of games next
where you would expect them to pick up some points, especially at home.
West Ham's next five PL games
Things have to improve soon because the last thing they need in their first
season at their new ground is a situation where they are stuck near the
bottom of the table. The longer this bad start continues, the more it will
play on the minds of the players and the fans that their first season after
leaving Upton Park is going to be spent battling relegation, rather than
pushing for the top six again.
'New stadium brings added pressure'
I don't think the West Ham team is lacking ability-wise, or in terms of
physical fitness. It is mentally where they just do not seem to be at it so
far. Part of that can be put down to the stadium move. London Stadium is a
fantastic arena and a great platform for the players to express themselves,
but it also brings added pressure. Last season, Upton Park was a fortress
where the Hammers went 16 games unbeaten between August and April. It would
have been hard enough to repeat that even without having to adjust to life
at a new stadium, and it is understandable that they have not taken that
form with them. The trouble in the stands with standing, segregation and
stewarding has hardly helped because I know a fair few fans did not want to
move anyway, and they are even more unhappy now. When I played for West Ham,
we knew the Upton Park crowd would always try to lift us when we needed
them. But, for various reasons, the atmosphere at London Stadium is very
different at the moment, and that needs to change.
Does Payet have a hangover from Euro 2016?
On top of having to deal with their changed surroundings, the Hammers have
also been without their superstar - Dimitri Payet - for most of the new
season. Payet had only played 23 minutes out of a possible 630 in all
competitions before making his first start of the campaign against the
Hornets. Earlier in the summer there were rumours he was injured and, until
the transfer window closed, there was a bit of uncertainty about whether he
was staying or not. None of that helped matters. It feels like everyone was
waiting for him to come back into the team because, when he did, everything
would be OK. Despite his brilliant rabona assist at the weekend, obviously
things did not work out that way. Along with Hammers defenders James Collins
(with Wales) and Angelo Ogbonna (with Italy), Payet was involved in the
latter stages of Euro 2016, which I think is another factor here. Because of
the emotion and adulation surrounding the France team that he was a part of,
it would not surprise me if the summer is still affecting him in some way.
Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return
or tab to continue. If so, I could understand it because I had a similar
situation when I was at West Ham and went to the 2002 World Cup with
England. I look back and think physically I was all right - I had not lost a
lot of fitness because I was even cycling to keep ticking over when I went
on holiday to the south of France after getting back from Japan and South
Korea. But mentally I was not ready and, when I came back, it took me two or
three months to really find my feet again. What happened to the Hammers that
season should be a warning too - we started really badly, winning only one
of our first eight games, and ended up being relegated with 42 points.
'Hammers need their team spirit and work ethic back'
It is a shame that a situation as significant as the one we saw in the
stands on Saturday was allowed to happen, but I think those off-field
problems can be resolved. A police presence and properly trained stewards
who understand a football crowd will make a big difference, and improving
the lines of communication between the supporters and the board would help a
lot too. Some fans will still be unhappy, of course, because they did not
want to leave Upton Park, but I do think the move is a positive one. The new
stadium is fabulous and they are very fortunate to get it. It has brought
something extra to the Premier League already. On the pitch, I am confident
Bilic can get his group of players back together again, in terms of their
team spirit and work ethic. They need to keep creating chances the way they
did against Watford but, as a team, they need to defend much better. I am
not just picking on the defence and goalkeeper there because that has to
start from the front with the centre-forward. Last season they made it
difficult for the opposition to break them down and did not concede many
goals but if everyone does not dig in and work hard then it becomes very
difficult. Too many players seem distracted at the moment, when they really
need to be focused on the new task in front of them. It is easy when you are
playing football with freedom, like this team did when things were going
well last year, but at the moment things are harder because they are in a
battle and they do not appear to be ready for it.
Trevor Sinclair was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.
SAT, 17 SEPT 2016PREMIER LEAGUE
Venue: The Hawthorns
West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United
Deadline-day signing Hal Robson-Kanu could be included in the West Brom
squad for the first time. Midfielder James Morrison is close to a return
after a hamstring problem but the West Ham match may come too soon. West Ham
skipper Mark Noble is fit despite needing eight stitches in a hand injury
sustained last weekend. Andy Carroll is running again but remains sidelined,
along with Aaron Cresswell, Diafra Sakho, Alvaro Arbeloa and Andre Ayew.
MOTD COMMENTATOR'S NOTES
Mark Scott: "The rubber-stamping of West Brom's takeover has put Tony Pulis'
future in the spotlight again. "He insists he doesn't expect much to change
under the new owner, but he could certainly do with things going in a
different direction on the pitch, as wins and goals continue to be in very
short supply. "Pulis would love West Ham to be as charitable at the back as
they were last week, with the Hammers going from the sublime to the
ridiculous against Watford. "Slaven Bilic is hopeful that capitulation will
be a turning point and is expecting a 'big response'. After losing three of
their opening four league games, he needs one."
WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY
West Brom head coach Tony Pulis: "I don't think the new owners will change
too much from the way Jeremy (Peace) has run the football club. They've
bought into Jeremy's model....I think they are going to try to run it on
similar lines. "I'm pleased and the chairman and the new owner are pleased
to get the deal done. The way it drifted and moved, you get involved in it,
no question of a doubt. "So it's pleasing for everybody that we now know and
we can move on from here."
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: "I don't think my players under-estimate any
team we have played so far. We were expecting a tough game against Watford
and were right. "We've had a good meeting and now I'm waiting for the
reaction tomorrow. Mistakes will happen but we have to defend better and
defend like we did last season."
I think we might see a positive reaction from West Ham's players after they
collapsed from 2-0 up to lose 4-2 at home to Watford last week. The way that
game went was just bizarre and, after that, a point here would be a good
result for the Hammers.
West Brom are on a four-game winless league run against the Hammers (D2,
Seven of the last 11 league meetings have been drawn.
West Brom have only won one of their last 13 Premier League matches (D5,
L7), scoring just six goals in the process.
Since Tony Pulis took charge in January 2015, West Brom have failed to score
in 21 Premier League matches - the joint-highest number among current clubs
in the division (level with Crystal Palace and Sunderland).
Salomon Rondon has scored three of West Brom's last four league goals.
West Ham have lost five of their last seven Premier League games, including
three successive away fixtures.
They have scored in 17 consecutive league games, the longest current such
run in the division.
Michail Antonio has scored a league-high 10 headed goals since the start of
Most probable score: 1-1 Probability of draw: 26%
Probability of home win: 24% Probability of away win: 50%
SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale
at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football
Slaven Bilic refuses to blame London Stadium for West Ham's form
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 16/09/16 1:59pm
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic is refusing to use the move to the London
Stadium and the subsequent crowd trouble for their slow start to the season.
The Hammers lost 4-2 at home to Watford last weekend, having taken a 2-0
lead in the match, while a 1-0 defeat against Astra Giurgiu at their new
home saw them knocked out of the Europa League. Crowd trouble during the
Watford game led to 10 supporters being ejected from the stadium, while the
club has called a meeting with fans to discuss recent problems with standing
in se ating areas and anti-social behaviour. But Bilic is not prepared to
use that as a mitigating factor for some poor performances that leave West
Ham just one place above the relegation places going into Saturday's game
away to West Brom. "I don't like excuses," he said. "I didn't notice [the
crowd problems] until I was told after the game and it didn't affect my
concentration during the game, so I'm sure that the players didn't notice
it. "That had nothing to do with the performance. Of course I would like
[the crowd trouble] to be sorted out. We are playing football for the fans.
"The fans are the most important for the club. We want them to feel good and
make them happy with our results and the club wants them to feel safe in our
Bilic is also unwilling to blame the standard of defending by his team,
despite West Ham conceding seven goals min their last two matches. "[The
defending] wasn't good of course. It was a bit different than the game
against Bournemouth at the same stage last season," added Bilic. The fans
are the most important for the club. We want them to feel good and make them
happy with our results. Against Bournemouth it was more individual mistakes.
The conclusion was the same, you lose confidence as a team. Now, the
confidence is okay. "We are a team, we defend together and I'm happy with
that. We will work with that. It is very important to talk about it. "We
spoke about it before the Watford game. We've had a good meeting and now I'm
waiting for the reaction tomorrow. "Mistakes will happen but we have to
defend better and defend like we did last season."
West Ham's Dimitri Payet rated above Barcelona forward Lionel Messi on list
of FIFA 17 top 10 free-kick takers
West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet has been named as the Premier League's
best free-kick taker ahead of the release of FIFA 17. The France
international has struggled for fitness this season but has proven his worth
from dead ball situations regularly for Slaven Bilic's side. The
29-year-old's most memorable free kick was perhaps an effort against
Manchester United at Old Trafford, but fans of Les Bleus could be excused
for preferring the last-minute winner against Cameroon. Payet may sit at the
top of the tree in regards to English football but he is only fourth on the
overall list in the popular video game.
New York City midfielder Andrea Pirlo leads the way with the Italian's
exquisite technique showing no sign of faltering during the twilight years
of his career. Turkey international Hakan Calhanoglu is second while
Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic sits third. Lionel Messi, who is widely
regarded as the best player on the planet, has had to make do with sixth.
The Barcelona forward is unlikely to be languishing so low. Meanwhile,
Manchester United's Memphis Depay and Swansea talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson
complete the Premier League players to be included.
Slaven Bilic rejects Troy Deeney claim that West Ham showboating sparked
Watford came from 2-0 down to win 4-2 at Saturday last weekend
Troy Deeney claimed the Hammers were 'mugging them off' afterwards
Dimitri Payet set up Michail Antonio's second with a rabona cross
By ADAM SHERGOLD FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 12:53, 16 September 2016 | UPDATED: 12:53, 16 September 2016
Slaven Bilic has hit back at Troy Deeney's claims that Watford were inspired
in their comeback from two goals down last weekend because West Ham were
showboating. The Hornets stormed back to win 4-2 at the London Stadium, with
striker Deeney claiming afterwards that the Hammers were 'mugging them off.'
But Bilic, speaking ahead of West Ham's Saturday visit to West Bromwich
Albion, said Deeney's comments were just a 'clever statement' in the light
of a morale-boosting victory. Deeney made his remarks after Dimitri Payet
had set up West Ham's second goal, scored by Michail Antonio, with a rabona
cross, while Manuel Lanzini also tried to score with the same trick. The
Watford man said: 'As a player I thought they were trying to mug us off a
little bit. As a professional you cannot allow someone to do that to you.
'You see that in the playground with six and seven year olds and we are
grown men. There were some really harsh words said to each other and
everyone had that fire in their belly again.' But Bilic responded: 'Troy is
a great player and a very clever player. It was smart to say that. I didn't
see it like that to be fair.
'It might look like that for some people but he said it because it was good
for them because they turned the game around. It was a good story - 2-0 up
then go to sleep and then 4-2. They woke up. 'I am here more than a year now
and I didn't see my players underestimate any team we have played so far,
even Watford. 'We spoke before the game and knew we were facing a really
good team, we expected a tough game and we were right. It is just a clever
statement from Troy.' Despite an inconsistent start to the campaign, which
sees the Hammers in 17th place ahead of their visit to the Midlands with
just three points from four games, Bilic maintains his players have the
licence to entertain with tricks and skills - but only at the right moment.
He said: 'It doesn't bother me if it ends with a goal or a good pass, of
course. If you make them without any benefit, sometimes it is good for the
confidence or the crowd, if there is no harm out of that. 'But it would
bother me if it was harming the team; not losing the ball, but slowing your
action, it would bother me slightly.'
West Brom vs West Ham: Team news, kick-off time, probable line-ups and stats
for the Premier League clash
By SPORTSMAIL REPORTER
PUBLISHED: 13:08, 16 September 2016 | UPDATED: 13:11, 16 September 2016
Ahead of this weekend's Premier League action, Sportsmail will be providing
you with all you need to know about every fixture, with team news,
provisional squads, betting odds and Opta stats. Here is all the information
you need for West Brom's game with West Ham...
West Brom vs West Ham (Hawthorns 15:00)
Hal Robson-Kanu could be included in the West Brom squad for the first time
when West Ham visit The Hawthorns. The Wales international striker has been
building up his fitness since signing for the club at the end of last month
and he might make the bench against the Hammers. James Morrison is also
nearing a return from his hamstring problems but Saturday's match may come
too soon for the midfielder.
Provisional squad: Foster, Myhill, Dawson, Evans, Olsson, McAuley, Wilson,
Galloway, Yacob, Gardner, Fletcher, Field, McManaman, McClean, Morrison,
Phillips, Chadli, Rondon, Lambert, Berahino, Leko, Robson-Kanu
The trip to West Brom may come too soon for West Ham defender Alvaro Arbeloa
to make his debut and he will most likely wait until next week's EFL Cup tie
The former Real Madrid full-back, who signed on a free transfer on deadline
day, was expected to be in line for his first start of the campaign but
Hammers boss Slaven Bilic is set to stick with Sam Byram at right-back. Mark
Noble is available despite needing stitches for a hand injury suffered in
their 4-2 defeat against Watford. Diafra Sakho, Andre Ayew and Aaron
Cresswell are all making "good progress" as the trio edge closer to a return
to action. Simone Zaza should keep is place up-front.
Provisional squad: Adrian, Randolph, Byram, Masuaku, Collins, Reid, Ogbonna,
Oxford, Kouyate, Nordtveit, Obiang, Noble, Payet, Lanzini, Antonio,
Feghouli, Tore, Zaza, Fletcher, Calleri.
Key match stats (supplied by Opta)
- West Brom have picked up one win in their last 11 Premier League meetings
with the Hammers (D7 L3).
- West Ham have won their last two away league games against the Baggies –
they've never won three in succession there.
- In fact, the only team West Ham have beaten in three successive Premier
League away games are Fulham (2002-2005).
- Mark Noble scored twice in this exact fixture last April for the Hammers,
as West Ham won 3-0.
- Since Tony Pulis took charge, West Brom have failed to score in 21 Premier
League games – the joint-highest number among current clubs in the division
(level with Crystal Palace and Sunderland).
- The Baggies have won only one of their last 13 Premier League games (D5
L7), netting just six goals in that run.
- West Ham have scored in their last 17 league games – they last enjoyed a
longer scoring run in the top-flight back in December 1966, netting in 24
(they also scored in 17 in a row, ending in August 1986).
- Michail Antonio has scored four of West Ham's five league goals this
- Since the start of last season Antonio has scored 10 headed goals in the
Premier League – more than any other player.
- Three of West Brom's last four Premier League goals have been scored by