West Brom-West Ham United Preview
West Ham United's current three-match league winless stretch has been deemed inexcusable by manager Slaven Bilic. However, that does not mean the boss has lost faith in his side.
The Hammers look to turn things around Sunday against a visiting West Bromwich Albion club that's coming off their most impressive victory of the season.
Though West Ham (6-3-4) entered the weekend sixth in the Premier League table and five points out of the top four, their current 0-1-2 stretch has cast a bit of a dark cloud over the club. The Hammers have scored two goals during that span after recording at least that many in nine of their first 10 league outings.
Things might have bottomed out last Sunday when they fell 4-1 at Spurs. West Ham didn't score until Manuel Lanzini's consolation strike in the 87th minute.
"Sometimes you can be satisfied with your performance even when you lose, but not last weekend," Bilic said. "We had only ourselves to blame, and we all knew that straight away, which was good because we didn't hide or make any excuses.
"We will do everything we can do bounce back on Sunday."
Bilic is confident his group can avoid dropping two in a row for the first time since Oct. 15-22.
"I believe in our players, I know what we are capable of doing," he said.
"Every game in the Premier League is tough, but (one point in the last three games) is still below what we wanted to achieve. We need to win it because we haven't got enough recently."
Though leading scorer Dimitri Payet and fellow midfielder Enner Valencia are still sidelined by ankle injuries suffered earlier this month, Pedro Obiang (hamstring) appears set to see his first action since Oct. 24. Veteran defender Alex Song made his season debut against Spurs, and could possibly earn more time Sunday.
West Ham are 2-4-0 against West Brom (5-2-6) at Upton Park since a 1-0 loss there Sept. 11, 2002. However, the Baggies avoided a third consecutive defeat with last Saturday's impressive 2-1 home victory over Arsenal.
After James Morrison scored the equaliser in the 35th minute, West Brom benefited from an Arsenal own goal five ticks later and deeply exhaled when Santi Cazorla missed a penalty kick in the 84th.
While the victory is the highlight thus far on the season for the Baggies, coach Tony Pulis doesn't want their collective head to swell
"I am not concerned about praise," he said. "I'm only concerned about winning football matches. We move on to the next one, and the next one is going to be tough.
"It's lovely playing against the top teams and beating the top teams. It's a reward for everybody on the pitch and off the pitch."
While West Brom are dealing with injuries to some players whose names Pulis would not divulge, they will be without Chris Brunt because of a one-match suspension earned for receiving his fifth booking last weekend. Brunt assisted on Morrison's goal.
Defender Gareth McAuley, meanwhile, will be available after he was suspended for the Arsenal match.
West Brom's Saido Berahino does not have a goal in the last four Premier League matches but has three in four contests against the Hammers.
Lanzini has scored in his last two games.