In the 22nd round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League campaign, David Moyes’ Hammers are set to entertain Alan Pardew’s Baggies in a clash that is worthy of the name “Relegation six-pointer” if there ever was one, both club’s first game of 2018.
The Irons head into the clash having enjoyed a week off over the festive period, drawing 3-3 to Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium the last time that they took to the field, whilst, West Brom were most recently embroiled in a controversial draw if their own with Arsenal, balancing the scales nicely for a close-knit affair.
The clash will take place tonight (Tuesday 2 January 2018) with a kick-off time of 7:45 PM GMT and unfortunately, no live Television coverage available for viewing in the UK.
However, you can tune into live Radio commentary from East London on BBC Radio London, or alternatively, if you don’t have access to a Radio device this evening, you can stay right where you are for a Live Blog, featuring exclusive build-up, live text commentary and reaction from the Press Box of the former Olympic Stadium for the key matchup.
The visit of Pardew’s the Throstles will take place at the club’s London Stadium, with a capacity of 57,000 and the option to go high into the 70,000s it is one of the most spectacular arenas in English Football.
Originally opening in 2012 for the London Olympics, the Ground’s footballing existence has been somewhat marred by violence and crowd unrest, not to mention supporter’s attitudes towards it.
This was catalysed early in this season when the first-team stars, then under Slaven Bilic, were forced to play the first four games of the season away from home due to Stratford hosting The World Athletics Championships.
But, the Stadium is slowly starting to feel more like home for the Claret & Blue Army, and tonight will be the second time that the Midlands team have visited Stratford, clinching a dramatic late equaliser last time out through defender Gareth McAuley, after Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini had cancelled out Nacer Chadli’s early opener.
Hammers Boss Moyes confirmed in his Pre-West Bromwich Albion Press Conference, which MooreThanJustAClub were lucky enough to be invited to, that Skipper Mark Noble and pacey winger Michail Antonio are likely to remain sidelined.
They join long-termers Sam Byram, Jose Fonte and Edimilson Fernandes on the injury list, but young defensive prodigy Reece Oxford, who has just been recalled from a loan at Borussia Monchengladbach, could make the Matchday Squad.
Meanwhile, Baggies Manager Pardew is also suffering from a problem or two in that area and are even expected to be without pivotal striker and Venezuelan International Salomon Rondon, which could prove a real blow.
Elsewhere, former Tottenham Hotspur man Chadli is out with a Hip knock, so too midfielder James Morrison with some Achilles trouble, aside from that the visitors are fully-fit.
The teams of West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion have met a staggering 104 times in Competition Football, in a fixture that has been being played since all the way back in 1913, around 104 years ago.
The overall record stands fairly even, as out of that staggering number of meetings, West Ham have claimed 39 wins in total, there have been 25 draws and Albion have reigned victorious on 40 occasions.
Notable past encounters between the two sides include West Brom’s 7-1 thrashing of today’s hosts back in 1925, the East Londoners’ 6-1 and 5-2 beatings of the Midlander’s before the turn of the century and who could forget the thrilling 3-3 Upton Park draw in December 2013?
In the last playing of this usually high-scoring fixture, uncharacteristically, the scoreline finished 0-0 at the Hawthorns Stadium, that game being played only mere months ago at the start of the season, but the two matches before that produced a total of ten goals combined.
West Bromwich Albion Football Club was formed in 1978 as West Bromwich Strollers, making them one of the oldest sides in the English Top-flight at 140 years of age.
The club enjoyed most of its success in its early existence, winning an impressive five FA Cups before the year 1968 and even lifting the First Division, now Premier League, Trophy during the 1920/1921 season, picking up two Charity Shields along the way.
In the modern era, however, the Throstles have not been so fruitful, yoyoing in and out of the PL several times, though managing to stay in the Division ever since their last Promotion from the Championship which came almost ten years ago when they finished runners-up.
Nowadays, under experienced gaffer Alan Pardew, who was in charge of the Clart & Blue Army between 2003 and 2006, after the sacking of Tony Pulis, West Brom sit worryingly 19th in the Standings and face a Relegation battle, having not won in the League since August.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced Select Group Official Mile Jones will be the man in the middle in East London tonight, with Simon Beck and Andy Garratt acting as his Assistants, and fellow Referee Neil Swarbrick playing the role of Fourth Official.
So, now that the London Stadium scene has been well and truly set for a tantalising night of Football under the lights, can the Hammers celebrate the New Year in style with three points of the highest importance?
Or, will the visiting Albion claim the unlikeliest of away victories to end their dismal winless run? Think you know? Be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your last-minute score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.