Talking Points- Carroll’s 100th PL appearance for West Ham ends in tame draw at the Hawthorns

This was as drab as it got, and perhaps a darning indictment on the quality of the game was the fact that it was last on Match of the Day, even below Spurs vs Swansea, which was a borefest in itself!

The corresponding fixture last season produced six goals, but chances were few and far between in this game that celebrated two important milestones- Gareth Barry’s 632nd appearance (equalling Ryan Giggs’ record for most league appearances), and Andy Carroll’s 100th league appearance for West Ham, five years after joining the club

Gareth Barry 632

Slaven Bilic stuck to the same XI that had beaten Huddersfield 2-0 at the London Stadium, while Tony Pulis rung in three changes, giving Kieran Gibbs his full debut and bringing in Brunt and Morrison for Livermore and Rondon respectively.

Barry headed over the bar from a Phillips corner in the 12th minute, just seconds after Winston Reid had produced two good pieces of defending in succession to deny Albion.

The only real noteworthy chance came from Pedro Obiang, whose outrageous shot from the centre circle nearly caught Ben Foster unawares, but the bar came to the latter’s rescue.

Following James Collins’ ankle injury in the second half, Bilic introduced Arnautovic from the bench and pushed Zabaleta to the left side of a three man defence, with Antonio taking the Argentine’s right wing back spot.

A little after the hour mark, Javier Hernandez found some space, but was cut down by the advancing Foster, and despite the protestations of West Ham players, referee Paul Tierney rightfully chose to give him only a yellow.

The problem with this formation is that it wastes Hernandez at wing, and the Mexican was eventually substituted 15 minutes from time for Andre Ayew. All three of Bilic’s attacking subs were used in this game, with Diafra Sakho the last one to come on for Carroll on 81 minutes.

West Brom seemed content to sit back and defend- it took them 87 minutes to register their first shot on target, with Hal-Robson Kanu’s header. Albion had only 37% of possession through the game, had one shot on target and made 288 passes to West Ham’s 485. It got so boring that a moment of skill from the ballboy attracted more attention from the commentators than the goings-on in the game.

Up to the League Cup in midweek- this was a cleansheet and a valuable point taken, but nothing more really.

On a side note, Winston Reid’s All Blacks enjoyed a great result in the rugby over the weekend, inflicting a 57-0 result on bitter rivals South Africa (the latter’s worst ever loss, according to the SH Rugby Blog)

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 West Ham (Attendance 24,942)

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