Premier League: West Ham v West Brom

Both sides are off the back of Premier League wins, but it can be argued that West Brom’s 2-3 victory over fierce rivals Wolves at the weekend was of greater importance.

The back-and-forth contest at Molineux swung in Albion’s favour as Big Sam secured his first win as Baggies boss, gaining Black Country bragging rights in the process.

The result wasn’t enough to lift West Brom out of the relegation zone, with the Baggies still 5 points from safety – it was, however, a much needed confidence booster.

Meanwhile, West Ham also got the job done in their last Premier League encounter with a narrow 1-0 victory over Burnley at the London Stadium.

The Hammers lack of a striker is a cause for concern, with Michail Antonio the only fit centre forward in David Moyes’ ranks after the sale of Sebastien Haller to Ajax earlier this month.

West Ham didn’t appear to struggle to create chances against Burnley but finishing them off did seem to be a bit of an Achilles heel.

A win for the Hammers will take them up to 7th place – leapfrogging Chelsea in the standings who play Leicester later on Tuesday night – whilst going level with 6th placed Everton.

3 points for West Ham will need to be secured without the defensive services of Fabian Balbuena, who is self-isolating after coming in to close contact with an individual who has tested positive for coronavirus, whilst fellow defender Arthur Masuaku remains a long-term injury absentee.

Aside from that David Moyes has a relatively clean bill of health.

Sam Allardyce does have fitness issues at West Brom meanwhile, where impressive goalkeeper Sam Johnstone will be absent due to contracting Covid-19, as will teammate Matt Phillips who has also tested positive for the virus.

Midfielder Conor Gallagher is available again for the Baggies after serving his suspension last time out against Wolves.

Grady Diangana is rated touch-and-go to feature against his former employers as he continues to recover from a muscle strain which kept him out of the Black Country derby.

West Ham v West Brom is a 6pm kick off on Tuesday, 19th January.

West Brom eyeing Turkey international

The Baggies are in a battle to remain in the Premier League this season and no doubt manager Sam Allardyce will be exploring his options in the transfer window in order to maximise their chances of staying up.

Although defenders appear to be of priority to West Brom, Celta Vigo’s Turkish international midfielder Okay Yokuşlu is catching their eye.

Yokuşlu has earned 29 caps for his country and has played in La Liga since 2018, with Celta Vigo enjoying a good season so far as they sit 8th in the Spanish top flight.

However, the midfielder has barely been involved this campaign after falling out of favour with a previous manager and failing to impress his replacement.

The lack of game time this season has meant that Yokuşlu’s chances of being involved with the Turkey squad for the rescheduled Euro 2020 are slim – but a move to the Premier League may be the catalyst he needs if he is to be selected for the national team.

Last week the Daily Mail reported West Brom’s interest in the 26-year-old, and the player’s agent this week confirmed to news outlet AS that talks are ongoing between the two clubs over a possible switch.

Although there is still a fair way to go before any sort of agreement is reached, Celta Vigo are open to letting the ill-fancied Yokuşlu leave the club in order to reduce their wage bill, particularly as they hunt for a new striker this month.

West Brom are interested but there is still a fair bit of negotiating to be done before a deal is struck.

West Brom battle out vital Black Country derby win at Wolves

The result comes as Sam Allardyce’s first win as Baggies boss and brings them to within touching distance of moving out of the drop zone.

And it was the under pressure visitors who were the brighter side in the opening stages with Wolves gifting them an opener on eight minutes.

Willy Boly collided with Callum Robinson inside the box and star man Matheus Pereira calmly tucked home from the spot.

But that goal only served wake Wolves up as Adama Traore tested David Button and Portuguese international Pedro Neto lashed wide.

And with the traffic heading in one direction Wolves netted a quick-fire double to take the lead before the break.

Fabio Silva turned home his first Molineux goal before Boly made up for his penalty gaffe as he reacted quickest to smash home from a corner.

But despite ended the first period strongly the game was flipped on its head once again within minutes of the restart.

Centre back Semi Ajayi bulleted a header past Rui Patricio and Robinson tumbled inside the box once again and Pereira fired home.

The tie did rock back in Wolves’ favour in the closing minutes and Nelson Semedo missed perfect chance to nick a point.

Full Time on a cracker of an afternoon at Molineux it’s Wolves 2 West Brom 3

Premier League: Wolves v West Brom

It has been almost nine years since these two Black Country clubs last did battle and the trajectory of both sides makes for interesting reading in that time frame.

Since new owners arrived at Molineux in 2017, Wolves have gained promotion to the Premier League and secured successive seventh placed finishes in the top flight.

Neighbours West Brom meanwhile saw their Premier League journey come to an end in 2018 before returning to the first tier of English football last season.

It’s fair to argue that the bragging rights in recent times regarding overall success fall firmly in the corner of Wolves, but from a head-to-head perspective Baggies fans have always been swift to remind their rivals of the 1-5 hammering they gave them when the two sides last met in 2012.

The landscape is slightly different this season though, with Albion getting rid of boss Slaven Bilic last month in favour of Sam Allardyce as they battle to beat the drop, whilst Wolves have not looked their usual selves in what has been a lacklustre campaign for them so far.

Allardyce is searching for his first win as West Brom manager since taking charge, with the Baggies’ last three points coming in late November against fellow strugglers Sheffield United.

Albion’s leaky defence is a major concern for ‘Big Sam’, whose side have shipped thirteen goals in their last four matches whilst registering just one strike of their own.

Interestingly, it has been Wolves’ bluntness upfront since the injury to Raul Jimenez in late November which has been their main issue – boss Nuno Espirito Santo has been relying on 18-year-old record signing Fabio Silva to fill the void left by the Mexican, with the youngster yet to really hit his stride.

As such, Wolves have recalled Patrick Cutrone from his loan spell at Serie A Fiorentina in order to increase firepower, with the club no doubt considering whether to swoop for another forward in the January window.

Underlining this is the fact that Wanderers have scored just 19 goals this season – considerably fewer than any of the 13 sides currently above them in the Premier League table.

Jimenez remains out for Wanderers for the derby at Molineux with that fractured skull, as does fellow long-term injury absentee Jonny Otto.

Recent injuries to Marcal and Daniel Podence means they will miss out against West Brom, but Nuno Espirito Santo will need to make a decision on Adama Traore’s fitness after complaints of a tight hamstring.

Willy Boly is also a major doubt to feature for Wolves following a hamstring issue of his own.

Albion meanwhile have fewer selection concerns, although Sam Allardyce will be missing Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher after an accumulation of yellow cards landed him a suspension.

Recent signing Karlan Grant is also ruled out for West Bromwich Albion with a broken foot.

Hal Robson-Kanu and Conor Townsend have both been missing for a while and are extremely unlikely to travel to Molineux.

The West Midlands derby between Wolves and West Brom is a 12.30pm kick off on Saturday 16th January.

West Brom dumped out of the FA Cup at Blackpool

The Baggies were lucky to survive until the shootout as their determined hosts enjoyed the better of it on a cold day by the sea.

Both sides created chances in busy first 45 minutes with Jerry Yates confidently tucking home before the break.

The visitors did haul themselves back into after the restart as Semi Ayjai nodded home.

However, they were unable to build on that the hosts continued to dominate with cup hotshot Gary Madine slotting them back in front.

Allardyce’s team were given a lifeline in the final minutes as Matheus Pereira tucked home from the spot.

But again they failed to grasp the nettle as Kyle Edwards missed a brilliant chance in extra time before penalty misses from Edwards, Pereira and Darnell Furlong sent Blackpool through.

Full Time at Bloomfield Road it’s Blackpool 2 West Brom 2 with the Seasiders winning it on penalties.

Bilic lands new job after West Brom dismissal

The former Croatia player and manager oversaw the Baggies’ promotion from the Sky Bet Championship last season but they struggled on their return to the Premier League.

The club sat 19th with seven points from 13 games when Bilic’s 18-month stint at the helm was brought to an end and he was replaced by Sam Allardyce on December 16.

However, Bilic has quickly moved on as he has signed a two-year deal to replace former Lyon boss Bruno Genesio at Beijing Guoan, who finished third in last year’s domestic league.

A club statement on Twitter said: “We are honoured to announce a 2-year contract with our new first team coach Mr. Slaven Bilic and coach team, welcome to Beijing.

“We would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation for all of the hard work and dedication Mr. Bruno Genesio made for us. We wish you all the best in your future professional endeavours.”

West Brom reveal Karlan Grant injury

The 23-year-old suffered the injury ahead of Albion’s Premier League match against Arsenal on January 2 – a game in which Sam Allardyce’s team were beaten 4-0 at the Hawthorns.

Grant joined the Baggies from Huddersfield in October in a deal that could eventually be worth a reported £15million.

He has made 12 appearances and scored one goal – in the 1-1 draw at Brighton shortly after his arrival at the club.

Arsenal power past West Brom with 4-0 win at The Hawthorns

The Gunners look set to move up into the top ten in the coming week as a late brace from Alexandre Lacazette put the gloss on a dominant performance in the West Midlands.

Arteta’s team were on the front foot right from the start in this one with Sam Johnstone called into early action to deny Hector Bellerin and Bukayo Saka.

And with all the traffic heading in one direction it was only a matter of time before Arsenal edged ahead as Kieran Tierney netted a superb opener.

The Scotsman raided forward from full back, turned Darnell Furlong one way and then the other and curl home a beauty past Johnstone.

And with The Baggies unable to offer resistance, Saka tucked home a brilliant second.
Lacazette’s delayed pass released Emile Smith-Rowe and his cutback was buried by Saka.

Arsenal kept on coming and coming before the break with more Johnstone keeping the score down as he denied Lacazette and Rob Holding.

And the Arsenal avalanche showed no signs of slowly after the break before Lacazette finally made it three.

Saka was right at the heart of it once again Semi Ajayi deflected his cross onto the post before Lacazette pounced to tuck home.

Arsenal smelt blood in the final stages as Lacazette volleyed home Tierney’ cross for Goal No.4 as Sam Allardyce’s miserable start continues with The Baggies.

Full Time at The Hawthorns it’s West Brom 0 Arsenal 4

Leeds ‘completely condemn’ online abuse Karen Carney has received

The England international’s comments, made during Amazon Prime Sport’s coverage of Leeds’ 5-0 win at West Brom on Tuesday, were retweeted by Leeds, prompting an angry response from some fans.

A Leeds statement read: “Leeds United completely condemns any abuse received by Karen Carney on social media following last night’s Premier League game with West Bromwich Albion.

“Everyone at our club respects Karen greatly for all she has achieved in the game, as well as her work in the media and the charity work she undertakes.”

Leeds have often responded to criticism from pundits by mocking them on social media and owner Andrea Radrizzani defended the club’s tweet criticising Carney’s comments.

But while Radrizzani claimed her comments were disrespectful on Wednesday morning, the club have grown concerned at the level of abuse Carney has received.

Leeds United hammer West Brom 5-0 at The Hawthorns

On a night were Marcelo Bielsa’s side probably expected to be frustrated by Sam Allardyce’s hosts, they produced the best performance of 2020.

Four first half goals set the tone for a dominant display from Leeds as Bielsa’s squad returned to form at a critical moment to leave Allardyce facing a bleak January.

Despite Leeds looking slick right from kick off in the West Midlands, they were given a helping in the first few minutes, as Romain Sawyers netted a ridiculous own goal.

The Baggies defender completely misjudged Sam Johnstone’s position in behind as he chipped past his own keeper.

However, if there was a touch of comedy about Leeds’ opener there was no joking about with the second as Ezgjan Alioski smashed past Johnstone.

And there was no slowly down from there as the rampant visitors smelt blood, with Jack Harrison finishing off a flowing move and Rodrigo fired home a fourth.

Leeds did almost shoot themselves in the foot after the restart as Illan Meslier reacted quickly from an error to deny Matheus Pereira.

But in truth, Leeds had the Baggies are arms length again after the break, as Raphinha saved the best goal for last.

The Brazilian has caught the eye with some spectacular goals during his first few months in England and he bent home a superb effort to make it five.

Full Time at The Hawthorns it’s West Brom 0 Leeds United 5

West Brom steal late 1-1 draw at Liverpool

The Baggies set their stall out to make life as difficult as possible for the Reds, but Sadio Mane’s early goal had looked to be enough to secure, before Semi Ajayi stole the headlines late on.

With the visitors playing with ten men behind the ball in the opening stages, Jurgen Klopp’s team were forced to be patient, before Mane edged them ahead on 12 minutes.

Joel Matip’s long pass caught his opposite centre backs too square and Mane raced on and smashed past Sam Johnstone.

That early goal did nothing to change the flow of the match as West Brom sat in and Liverpool grew more and more frustrated.

Liverpool continued to boss everything after the break with skipper Jordan Henderson flashing an effort wide.

And with Klopp’s side unable to break through, the Baggies stayed in the game and pull off Allardyce’s masterplan with 10 to go.

Matheus Pereira’s deep corner caused problems in the Liverpool box and Ajayi got highest to nod home.

Full Time at Anfield it’s Liverpool 1 West Brom 1

Premier League Preview: Liverpool v West Brom

The Reds squad is still blighted by injuries as 2020 comes to an end with Diogo Jota, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez all out for the foreseeable.

Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara is back in training following a knee injury with Klopp confident he should see some action in this one.

As for The Baggies, life back in the West Midlands started with defeat for Allardyce as they were brushed off by Aston Villa last time out.

Skipper Jake Livermore begins a three-match ban after being sent off in that one with Matheus Pereira back in contention following his own time on the naughty step.

Add with Big Sam looking to get his new squad right back to basics in the weeks to come, veteran war horse Branislav Ivanovic could also come back in.

And it’s all set to go at Anfield with a 4.30pm Kick Off.