Fri, Feb 11, 9:10am by Kevin Pitstock
Not only is this a key game for Premier League survival, but it comes when West Bromwich Albon are without a manager. With form dipping and the bottom three rushing up to embrace the Baggies, Roberto Di Matteo was quickly dismissed following West Brom’s defeat at Manchester City. While this comes not long after he earned them promotion, they did offer very little in that last game at Eastlands.
West Ham are also back in trouble, after they had shown an upturn in form once the transfer window re-opened. A win in this game will not only boost the victor’s chances, but it will have the bonus side effect of crippling a near rival.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION PREVIEW
With Di Matteo now history, the long serving first team coach Michael Appleton is set to be in charge for this one. Chris Hughton appears to be favourite to take over following his departure from Newcastle United, but as things stand, an appointment looks unlikely before Saturday. The Baggies form is an alarming read, It’s one win in 9 – and that was at home to a Blackpool side also undergoing a similar confidence crisis. In that run, they have conceded at least two goals in every game – and survival is simply not sustainable with that record. A change in keeper has been tried, but the problems seem more fundamental. Such stats make the case for change in the manager.
WEST HAM UNITED PREVIEW
Last weekend’s home defeat by Birmingham looked a significant setback for the Hammers and Avram Grant, who had just shown a little something by going to Blackpool and winning. That was one of two away victories so far, but they are known to subside rather meekly at times when going a goal behind. This is one of those games where confidence will be incredibly fragile and whoever scores first gets the kind of mental boost that can see things through. Robbie Keane and Victor Obinna have at least shown the ability to get on the score sheet consistently and Keane adds some experience and nous at this level. This is one tight and tense game.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION v WEST HAM UNITED BEST BET AND PREDICTION
One area that sides with a new manager or interim coach can struggle with is set pieces and free-kicks. It makes a West Ham win a value bet here, as the Baggies could easily get suckered. They are $3.75 with Centrebet. Score prediction: 2-1 to West Ham.
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