West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is under pressure. Image courtesy of soccerlens.com
It has been a case of ‘Season’s Beatings’ for West Ham , with the London club falling deeper in to the mire after back-to-back 3-1 defeats at the hands of Manchester United and Arsenal. Since an opening day win against Cardiff City, the Hammers have only tasted success twice in the league in 17 matches, and one of those victories came against close rival Tottenham Hotspur, a team they also beat in the League Cup recently.
Pragmatic manager Sam Allardyce can’t be far from getting his marching orders, a fate that has befallen popular West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke. The Scotsman had taken the Baggies to an eighth place finish in the Premier League last season, but was told to go after his side lost four straight heading in to the Festive Season. The team has responded with picking up points in 1-1 draws with both Hull City and Spurs.
You can’t help but feel sorry, somewhat, for Clarke. He lost a bidding war with Everton for Romelo Lukaku, who was a sensation at The Hawthorns last season and has starred for the Toffees this campaign, while Peter Odemwingie also departed for Cardiff. While they lack firepower up front with those two out of the picture, the Baggies haven’t helped themselves at the back conceding in each of their past eight games, and it’s no coincidence they haven’t scored a win in that period. It would be nice to get some goals from the likes of Victor Anichebe, Scott Sinclair and Nicolas Anelka, who has missed some sitters in his time at the Midlands club.
One thing West Brom has is talent in the middle of the park. Claudio Yacob and Youssouf Mulumbu are a quality pairing in midfield, while Saido Berahino is pushing for a call-up to England’s senior squad after some standout performances in the EPL and for the national under 21s team. If the talk is right, former Real Betis manager Pepe Mel will step in to the fold in the near future to try to steer this talented side away from the relegation zone.
It really doesn’t look anywhere as bright at Upton Park. Carlton Cole put them in front against the Gunners on Boxing Day but the claret and blue let three in between the 68th and 79th minute of the game. James Collins and Ravel Morrison both sustained injuries against Arsenal, adding to a growing casualty ward which features the likes of Andy Carrroll (heel), Stewart Downing (calf), Winston Reid (ankle), Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) and Mladen Petric (thigh).
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