Express & Star football correspondent Matt Maher gives his informed opinion on Saturday's opponents West Bromwich Albion...
Chinese entrepreneur Guochuan Lai completed his takeover of West Bromwich Albion on Thursday, ending a long period of speculation over the future of the club. What’s your take on the situation?
“There has been a bit of uncertainty. The takeover was due to be completed and we were being told that it has had no impact on the team or the manager, but there’s always a level of uncertainty.
“To be honest, we don’t know a huge about the new Chinese owner, but what we do know is that [former Blackburn Rovers Chairman] John Williams is coming in to replace Jeremy Peace as Chairman, and Peace will remain with the club in a consultancy role.
“It is a fresh start for the club. Jeremy Peace has been a figurehead for a long time, so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens.
“The transfer window was a big of a mixed bag for Albion. The club has been adamant that the takeover talk didn’t have any impact on the transfer window, but it was a relatively quiet one and nobody is sure what’s going to happen.”
West Brom have won just one of their previous 14 Premier League matches, leading to some disquiet among supporters, so is the pressure on after just four games of the 2016/17 season?
“It’s a massive game for West Brom and they need a positive result, or at least a positive performance.
“They drew 0-0 at home with Middlesbrough in their last game at The Hawthorns, and there were boos at the end of that game, which was a really poor one.
“Then they went to Bournemouth and lost, but in truth they played quite well and the game could have gone either way, as they had chances to win it which they just didn’t take.
“Tony Pulis has made clear he was not happy with the business the club did during the summer, but the poor run of results dates back to last season and any manager would be under pressure if they had won just one of their last 14 matches.”
West Brom still have some good players, though, don’t they – the likes of Salomon Rondon, Saido Berahino and recent club-record signing Nacer Chadli?
“Saido Berahino is one of the top 15 strikers in the Premier League when he is fit and on form, but last season he was missing, even though he was still with the club, if you know what I mean. All West Brom players just want to see the player he was before.
“People are quite excited about what Rondon can do this season, because hopefully we will see the real player he is on a consistent basis, now he has fully settled into English football.
“He did OK last season and scored about ten goals and showed he could be a player in the Premier League.
“Chadli will be making his home debut at The Hawthorns and the onus is on him to show people what he can do.
“The issue West Brom have had is that they are a solid but unspectacular team, so when results don’t go their way, the fans have little to get excited about.
“Their home form last season was really disappointing and there is a real sense that the whole place needs to find a spark – and soon!”
So, how do you predict Saturday’s game will go?
“It’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen, and I’m not one for predictions, but I’ll say it will most probably be a draw.
“West Ham appear to have lost a bit of their balance from last season and have some new players still bedding in. Both teams are still finding their feet this season.”
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United