The Runner Sports

Match Review: West Brom 0-0 West Ham

After a dry 90+ minutes, West Ham secured a point away from home for their second consecutive clean sheet. It was West Ham’s first draw of the season, just one week after securing their first win of the season. While this game was far from entertaining, West Ham did well to nab one point at the Hawthorns, and it would seem West Brom were fine with a home draw against what should prove to be their middle of the table competition.

West Brom manager Tony Pulis was really the enemy of the fans, both West Ham and Brom for this lacklustre match. Pulis, in his defensively minded way essentially parked the bus from opening kickoff. The Baggies from West Brom were more than content to hold the ball and lose possession downfield as soon as they were pressured. To statistically prove this fact, West Brom sent their first shot on goal, a slow, bouncing header in the 87th minute of the match. If the game was not such an eventless bore West Ham fans would be celebrating this fact, but it was muted in a draw where the away side was much better.

West Ham deserves credit for being the better team in this match. Although they did not break through with the winning goal, the Hammers did manage 9 shots and boasted a 63% possession stat as well. They fell victim to Pulis’ boring, draw settling tactics, which drew any enjoyment out of this game. Limited to just 6 shots and one on goal, West Ham’s defense were the top performers on the pitch, but they will be without James Collins at center back as he picked up an ankle injury that will keep him out for a month at least. Pablo Zabaleta stepped in at center back in his absence, adding further value to the right back who is showing versatility as a wingback and center back as well.

It appears under-fire manager Slaven Bilic has found a back-end formation that he can work with, three center backs with wingbacks for support. As well, the midfield has been lining up in a formation with two holding defensive positions in support. In back-to-back games now the midfield and wingbacks have been able to be more involved in the attack as both West Brom and Huddersfield were unable to penetrate the midfield and hold position. This freedom for the center-mids saw them step up in attack, firstly in Pedro Obiang’s goal last game and in his shot from 45 yards out which caught the West Brom keeper off his line but struck the crossbar. In the absence of Manuel Lanzini, Obiang, while less gifted offensively, has been showing his goalscoring prowess with the given opportunity.

It appears as the Lanzini injury, which was sustained before the Newcastle game, and re-aggravated in his appearance back in that game, will keep him out of the lineup until mid-October. With his absence, Bilic will need to continue to be creative in the midfield, however, Obiang and Cheik Kouyate have been solid in his absence.

Coming up are two home matches for West Ham. First, an under-the-lights midweek Cup matchup against Bolton Wanders. Reece Burke, and Josh Cullen, the loanees from West Ham who play for Bolton will not be made available in this match. West Ham’s professional record against Bolton is not great, however, the teams have since separated in quality leaving West Ham the heavy favorites in this midweek matchup. Sead Haksabonivic, the¬†impressive young attacking midfielder, is rumored to start, along with Adrian in net and Diafra Sakho as striker.

West Ham will be resting Pablo Zabaleta, Andy Carroll, and Javier Hernandez in the Bolton match in anticipation for their home match against cross-London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. West Ham will need to rely on the back three defense to stop Harry Kane and the Tottenham attack. With a solid three center back formation, Bilic needs to be inventive in the offensive third to help West Ham nab three points over settling for a draw.

Adam Smith
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Adam Smith

West Ham United Writer at The Runner Sports
Proud supporter of the Claret and Blue, West Ham United!
Actively interested in transfer news, match reports, developing story lines, and all things West Ham United!
Adam Smith
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