With no win in their last 6, many may feel it will be a walk over at The Hawthorns this weekend. However, they showed spirit to get a very credible draw against a title-chasing Tottenham. Their players will know they’ve underperformed and it’s at this time of the season where it can go one of two ways; they carry on slacking off, or, prove a point to the fans in the dying embers of a season. Hopefully the former for us.
Coming into the game I spoke to the guys at @albiontillwedie – www.albiontillwedie.co.uk – and asked them a few questions regarding the game and both clubs respective seasons. As always a big thank you to them for getting involved.
With no win in your last 6 as we come towards the end of the season, it’s fair to say this hasn’t been a great one for West Brom, what have your views been on your season so far?
In terms of where we are placed, and the points the team have amassed, it’s been an okay season. We’ve had some excellent results – beating both Arsenal and Manchester United at The Hawthorns as well as gaining points at Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester and most recently Spurs. Sadly we have also witnessed far too many poor performances – the main complaint from supporters being our defensive style of play – the number of games we have failed to register a shot on target is embarrassing to say the least. Looking ahead to next season hopefully our attacking play will see an improvement, it really needs to.
What have you made of West Ham’s season so far, where do you see us finishing in the table?
You’ve had a great season haven’t you, surpassing most Hammers’ fans expectations I would imagine. Not seen a great deal of you this season but when I have you appear to be a well organised side and with Payet pulling the strings you do offer a threat going forward. I’d be surprised if you manage to break into the top 5 this season, the teams above seem to be picking up enough points hold you off so I’ll go with 6th or 7th.
What did you make of the reverse fixture in December which ended 1-1?
There’s not much that sticks in the mind about the game to be honest. From memory you dominated the first half whereas we were the better team in the second. We had some luck with Rickie Lambert’s deflected equaliser but I think a draw was the fair result.
It seems from an outside perspective that you’ve succumbed to much the same state of affairs as we had under Sam Allardyce. You’ve no real chance of going down under Pulis, but, you also have no real chance of progressing. Have the fans had enough now? Who would you like to see come in if so?
It’s a tough one, it really is. Pulis is probably as close as you can get to a Premier League football guarantee and I suppose to most people being part of English football’s elite is all that matters. However, the football we’ve had to endure for the majority of the season has been awful, really dour defensive stuff. It’s even been difficult to enjoy some of our victories due to the way we played in those games. The majority of displays this season are even more frustrating when you consider that when we do play a more attacking style of football and go at teams we actually look a decent side.
There’s certainly a split amongst supporters as to whether they are happy with Pulis with perhaps a majority of fans now wanting him to leave sooner rather than later. I’ve no problem with him staying if he buys well during the summer and makes us a little easier on the eye but if his sole intention is for a repeat of what we’ve seen this season then I’d rather him go. As for replacements, Brendan Rodgers is probably the name that stands out for me. David Moyes too would be a good shout. Whether either would come to The Hawthorns is a totally different question.
On managers, what have you made of Slaven Bilic’s first season managing in the Premier League?
I like him. He seems passionate, honest, and he’s certainly done a good job so far getting the Hammers playing some good football.
We touched on both Berahino and Rondon prior to our first meeting this season, and, both have failed to come to live in that period thereafter. Is your lack of a sure goalscorer your main downfall do you feel?
We have got a goal-scorer in Saido Berahino – When on form and interested there’s few better than him at finishing chances. Yes he’s brought a lot of trouble on himself this season but I feel he’s been criminally misused by Pulis, often being asked to fill a wide or deep role which really doesn’t play to his strengths.
Jonny Evans. Was often a scapegoat when at Manchester United, however, he seems to be one player who has been consistent this season, although those beside him have not. How is he viewed by the baggies?
He’s been a fantastic signing and rarely, if ever, lets the team down. I wasn’t sure about him at the time of his signing – he had never really impressed me for United – but he soon won myself and all other Baggies over with a string of classy displays.
In hindsight…How inspired a move was it to let Joleon Lescott go?!
At the time I really wasn’t sure about letting him go. He had been excellent for us during his first six months at The Hawthorns and whilst his form did drop a little he was still a deserving winner of our Player of the Season award. You did get the feeling though that Pulis wasn’t his biggest fan so perhaps the move to Villa wasn’t really that surprising.
On a scale of 1-10 how disgusted were you with your own fan/s over the coin tossing incident earlier this year?
Has to be a 10. Obviously the moron that threw it deserves to be locked up and banned from games for life – sadly he’s yet to be caught and it appears due to a lack of clear evidence he never will be.
You picked Payet earlier on, but if you could pick one West Ham player who would it be, if of course, you’d change your mind!
I’d stick with Payet, pure class, but if I was forced to pick another Hammers’ player I’d like to see at The Hawthorns it would be a fully fit Andy Carroll – an handful for any defence. He would probably suit Pulis’ style of play too.
Finally, what’s your match prediction?
I fancy a repeat of the score line earlier in the season. 1-1.