When West Ham headed to the Hawthorns last season, we were 12th in the Premier League table, in dreadful form and had only three games remaining.
In April we had not won a single game and this was their final opportunity to do so. The Hammers knew that this game was crucial as the Baggies were just four points behind in 16th and with a game in hand.
When the action commenced, although West Ham had a few half chances, it was the home side that were playing with much more intensity and took the lead on 11 minutes, leaving the usual large number of away supporters feeling a sense of déjà vu. West Brom were below us in the table before the game, reportedly in open crisis with their manager yet here they were with the lion’s share of the play and creating the best chances.
To add insult to injury, it was Morgan Amalfitano, who set up Saido Berahino to slot the ball past Adrian.
After the goal, the visitors created very little and this prompted their loyal fan base to start showing their choral displeasure towards Sam Allardyce, as they had done on numerous occasions earlier in the season at home.
There was even a large banner being held up in the away end with the words, “Fat Sam Out”, displayed in large letters.
At the start the second-half, although West Ham looked brighter and created a few chances of their own, they still looked incapable of finding a way past Ben Foster in the home side’s goal.
How times have changed, Allardyce brought on Joe Cole to replace the ineffectual Stewart Downing but the home side still stood firm and took the points, leaving the Hammers close to the relegation zone with only games against Spurs and Manchester City to come.
As if the result wasn’t enough to send the travelling support home unhappy, just as they were making their way out of the ground, the heavens opened, leaving them cold and wet through, as they were left to reflect on what they had just witnessed.
So looking ahead to tomorrow’s visit to the same venue, the outlook seems very different. The East Londoners have been picking up points and go into the game off the back of a good home win against in-form Newcastle which lifted them back up to fifth in the table and they will be hoping to start December in the same vein.
Allardyce was October’s Manager of the Month, the team now has strength in depth allowing him to include better players and Downing is an integral part of the side and an England player once again. Even Amalfitano has now swapped sides!
Given the Hammers recent form, the omens are in favour of the visitors to back the weekend’s result up by collecting another three points. 24 points by the beginning of December; unthinkable back in April.