Bilic Left Frustrated As Hammers Held To Hawthorns Stalemate

Match Report West Ham United

Slaven Bilic’s Hammers were treated to a typical Tony Pulis performance on Saturday afternoon, in a Game that hardly caught the eye of many in The Midlands.

The traveling Claret & Blue Army were left to witness plenty of possession but very little in terms of clear-cut chances at The Hawthorns, as we ended a horrific run of three consecutive away League defeats.

The home side, who ran out 4-2 winners on our last visit, bedded down with a solid defensive performance as they sat deep and denied us back to back victories for the first time since January.

However, the outcome could have been very different if Referee Paul Tierney had decided to send Baggies keeper Ben Foster off for a controversial challenge on Javier Hernandez in the second period.

Slaven Bilic fielded an unchanged Xl from last Monday night’s 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town, with Marko Arnautovic benched on his return from suspension.

Whereas Pulis was forced into making three changes to the Side that was bested by Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend as James Morrison, Kieran Gibbs and Chris Brunt replaced Jake Livermore, Allan Nyom, and Salomon Rondon.

The blows of being without both Livermore and Rondon would damage the hosts’ attacking prowess, but we were also missing the likes skipper Mark Noble, Edimilson Fernandes, and Manuel Lanzini.

The hosts would come out firing on all guns in the early stages as they looked for a lead that could be kept at The Hawthorns and were only denied by a terrific Winston Reid double block to keep out Brunt and debutant Gibbs in the opening exchanges.

Gareth Barry, making his landmark 632nd Premier League appearance to level Ryan Giggs’ Record, almost marked the occasion with a goal moments later, but saw his header deflected over by Aaron Cresswell.

At the other end, a superb Michail Antonio run and shot stung the palms of Foster, but there was nothing that the England International could do about the Game’s moment of highest quality.

Spaniard Pedro Obiang picked up the ball just in front of the halfway line and spotted Foster slightly off his line, before unleashing a wondrous effort that rattled the crossbar and came back out, causing fans all around the Stadium to shudder.

Despite this, The Baggies fought back yet again by creating arguably the chance of the afternoon, but Morrison failed to get enough contact on a Matt Phillips delivery.

As the second period began, Jose Fonte came the closest to scoring that he has ever been in a Hammers Shirt with a header that flashed just wide of the far post.

Just moments later, Paul Tierney had a huge decision to make. A long Michail Antonio clearance reached the head of Andy Carroll, whose flick-on played in Hernandez.

Foster, advancing from his line, brought down the Mexican with a studs-up flying tackle, as Tierney reached for his yellow card instead of red to the disgust of 2,700 Hammers.

While James Collins was forced off with injury and Antonio was made to play at right wing-back, our attacking threat collapsed as the home side staked out for a solid draw.

Sharing the points in The Midlands means that Bilic’s Boys climb out of The Relegation Zone and into 17th, courtesy of Manchester United’s thrashing of Everton.

Meanwhile, The Baggies remain in 10th place after taking seven points from their opening five Premier League Matches of this campaign, a total that Tony Pulis will be very pleased with.

Both Sides will be in Carabao Cup action in midweek, as we host Bolton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion entertain Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City before The Premier League returns for Match Day Six on Saturday.

Hammer of the Match: Pablo Zabaleta

About the Author

Luke Glanville
Lead Writer and Site Manager of MTJAC, Sub-Editor for the Falbros Media Group.