West Ham United contest their penultimate fixture of the 2020/21 Premier League season at West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday evening.
The Hammers travel to The Hawthorns seeking to maintain their challenge for European qualification, knowing four points from the Club's final two top-flight matches will be enough to secure a top-seven finish and a return to continental competition for the first time since the 2016/17 season.
The Irons dropped to seventh in the table after Tottenham Hotspur beat Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, but still harbour hopes of leapfrogging their London rivals and grabbing a place in the UEFA Europa League. Seventh would mean qualification for the inaugural UEFA Conference League.
West Ham are seeking a record ninth away Premier League win of the season in the West Midlands, where they come up against a West Brom side managed by former Hammers boss Sam Allardyce. The Baggies have been relegated back to the Championship, but showed in Sunday's narrow 2-1 defeat by Liverpool that they are giving their all.
Wednesday's game will, of course, be played with supporters present following the latest move out of COVID-19 lockdown on Monday. With The Hawthorns' capacity set at just under 27,000 and 25% of seats allowed to be filled, a crowd of around 7,500 West Brom supporters could be in the stands. No away fans are currently permitted to attend.
However, West Ham supporters can watch the action live on Sky Sports or via the Premier League's international broadcast partners, listen live on BBC Radio London Sport or follow the game via whufc.com, our official App and social media channels.
West Ham United manager David Moyes has only two injury concerns ahead of Wednesday's game, with Manuel Lanzini (groin) and Arthur Masuaku (knee) out of action.
For West Bromwich Albion, former Hammer Robert Snodgrass is ruled out with a back injury, while veteran Serbia defender Branislav Ivanovic is expected to miss out with a thigh problem
The opposition – West Bromwich Albion
Sam Allardyce's proud record of having never been relegated from the Premier League as a manager ended earlier this month, when West Bromwich Albion's demotion was confirmed - their fifth relegation from the Premier League since 2002/03.
The Baggies dispensed of the services of another former West Ham United boss, Slaven Bilic, in December. Back then, West Brom sat 19th in the table and six months on that remains the position occupied by the West Midlands club with two games remaining.
Allardyce has won just four of his 23 Premier League games in charge - a record that was not good enough to lift the newly-promoted Baggies out of the relegation zone.
However, West Brom have continued to battle throughout, most notably when winning 5-2 at Chelsea in early April, and Wednesday's hosts undoubtedly possess a number of high-quality players.
The Baggies will look to bounce back, as they have done following their previous four Premier League relegations, but it remains to be seen whether Big Sam will be in charge to oversee their latest attempt to do so.
How will they play?
Well, West Bromwich Albion will play like every Sam Allardyce team has always played…
West Brom will set up to be hard to beat, with a strong physical presence all over the pitch, some creative elements in the midfield, a bit of pace and trickery out wide, and centre-forwards who put themselves about and make life difficult for their opposing defenders.
West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion meet in the Premier League for the 22nd time on Wednesday evening.
The Hammers have won eight of the previous 21 fixtures between the two clubs in this competition, with the Baggies winning just four, with nine draws.
The most-recent meeting came at London Stadium in January, when Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio scored in a 2-1 win for the Irons, with Matheus Pereira netting for the visitors.
West Ham have scored more goals – 32 to 26 – and kept more clean sheets – six to five – as you might expect, but West Brom have netted four penalties to West Ham’s two, and also had the only red card shown in this Premier League fixture – Youssouf Mulumbu’s for kicking the ball into Gary O’Neil’s backside at the Boleyn Ground in March 2013!
The Hammers are unbeaten in the last four Premier League meetings.
West Ham’s biggest Premier League win over West Brom was a 3-0 success at The Hawthorns on 30 April 2016, when Mark Noble scored two goals and Andy Carroll got the other. That was also our most recent win away at the Baggies.
David Moyes has faced West Brom on 24 occasions in his long managerial career, winning 13, drawing two and losing nine. Moyes has also faced Sam Allardyce 24 times, winning 14, drawing three and losing seven.
By the numbers
8 Eight of Martin Peters’ 100 goals scored for West Ham United were netted in his 20 career appearances against West Bromwich Albion, including his only hat-trick in Claret and Blue. Peters’ first against the Baggies came on his fifth and was the sixth in a 6-1 First Division win at the Boleyn Ground in April 1965. He added a second in a 4-0 home win in January 1966, a third in the 4-1 League Cup final second-leg defeat at The Hawthorns that March, and a penalty in a 3-0 top-flight home win in December of his World Cup-winning year. Peters’ fifth came in a 3-1 away defeat in May 1968, before he completed his scoring by slamming in three in a 4-0 First Division win in east London three months later.
9 While Peters scored eight times against West Brom, his fellow World Cup final hero Sir Geoff Hurst has scored more goals against the Baggies than any other Hammer, with nine in 23 appearances. The 249-goal Hurst began his spree in a 2-2 home First Division draw in December 1962, before adding two more in a 4-2 home victory in November 1963. April 1965 saw him net a fourth in a 4-2 defeat in the Midlands, before five and six arrived in a 4-0 home win in January 1966. The seventh was scored in a League Cup semi-final second leg draw at the Boleyn Ground in February 1967, and the eighth from the penalty spot in a 3-2 home top-flight defeat in December that year. Hurst’s ninth and final strike against the Baggies was a consolation in a 3-1 loss at home in August 1969. Hurst later joined West Brom in 1975 and played 12 times, scoring two goals.
5 Sticking with the 1960s, Brian Dear famously scored five goals in a sensational 20-minute spell either side of half-time in the aforementioned 6-1 win on 16 April 1965. The Plaistow-born forward opened his account a minute before half-time and kept on scoring, netting four more in 18 minutes after the break to set a top-flight record that has not been broken in the 56 years since!
225 Craig Dawson made 225 appearances for West Bromwich Albion across eight seasons at The Hawthorns, scoring 15 goals and registering 12 assists. The versatile defender split his appearances for the Baggies almost in half between centre-back and right-back, while he also appeared twice at left-back!
22 Assistant manager Alan Irvine was appointed as West Brom’s head coach in June 2014 and spent six months in charge at The Hawthorns, guiding the Baggies to a memorable Premier League win at Tottenham Hotspur to register his first Premier League victory as a manager.
4 Four former West Ham United players have served as West Bromwich Albion manager. The first was 1940 War Cup winner Archie Macauley, who took charge for 67 games between 1961-63, followed by 1980 FA Cup winner Stuart Pearson, who managed the Baggies six times in early 1991 before being succeeded by 1975 FA Cup winner Bobby Gould, who was in charge for 66 games until May 1992! The fourth was Slaven Bilić, who led West Brom to promotion last season and won 26 of his 65 games as Baggies boss.
3 Croatian Bilić is also one of three men to manage both clubs, with the others being Alan Pardew, who was in charge at The Hawthorns for five months between November 2017 and April 1918, and Sam Allardyce, who was appointed on 16 December last year. In addition, former Hammers assistant manager Steve Clarke, who is currently Scotland national team manager, was West Brom boss between June 2012 and December 2013, guiding the Baggies to eighth in the Premier League in 2012/13.
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt and Lee Betts
Fourth Official: Darren England
VAR: Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR: Stephen Child
Born in Ashington, Northumberland in February 1985, Michael Oliver has been a member of the Select Group of Referees since August 2010, when he was just 25.
Oliver started refereeing in the Northern Premier League from 2003 to 2005 before quickly working his way up through the National League and EFL to reach the Premier League in January 2010.
The 36-year-old refereed the 2007 Conference National and 2009 League One Play-Off finals and controlled the 2016 EFL Cup final and 2018 FA Cup final – all at Wembley Stadium.
Oliver was appointed to the FIFA List in 2012 and has since refereed competitive and friendly international, UEFA Champions League and Europa League fixtures.
He has refereed West Ham United on 29 occasions, including the 2-2 Championship draw with Leeds at the Boleyn Ground in August 2011.
He also officiated the penultimate game at the Boleyn Ground against Swansea City in May 2016, and the away Premier League matches at Arsenal, Leeds United, Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this season.