Four score at Hawthorns

Terry Wills watches Albion beat West Ham.

If ever there was a game guaranteeing goals, drama and excitement the Baggies versus West Ham would be close to topping the list. High scoring wins and defeats, free scoring draws – there in abundance. So despite Albion’s current recognised failure to find the net I wasn’t entirely surprised that the latest clash saw six goals scored – mercifully with four deposited in the Hammers net.

Much has been made via the national media of some woeful West Ham defending but little of the vastly improved attacking from Tony Pulis’ Albion. Again, and this is getting boring, statisticians have gone overboard on Albion’s possession, or lack of it, this instance, but possession counts for nothing and the only statistic that counts is the number of goals scored.

A first look at Nacer Chadli confirmed his creative quality. He can even score from spot kicks; long time since! Matt Phillips has genuine pace and seems ever ready to do his share in defending. James McClean gave maximum effort, chipping in with the third goal. Saloman Rondon was again a virtual Lone Ranger up front took his goal superblyIf it had been scored by one of the big clubs much more would have been made of it.

Rondon also has to be given credit for playing the major part in Nacer Child’s second goal. Latching onto a long ball (hilarious defending) he sprinted forward with only the keeper to beat but seeing Chadli in a slightly better posiiton he laid the ball off to give him the opportunity. Most strikers would have gone on themselves. Despite the scoreline West Ham played some slick attacking football and I don’t envisage seeing them languishing around the lower region as the season progresses.

A Greed League trip to the Potteries is next up, for a tilt against a struggling Mark Hughes Stoke City. It won’t be easy, they’ll be going flat out to claw themselves away from bottom spot in the table. For so long Albion’s bogey side, last season we actually did the double over Stoke. When Tony Pulis was their manager the Stoke supporterss loved him but I wonder how they’ll feel should he guide Albion too another win?

Forecast: Stoke desperate to improve, Albion equally determined to follow the West Ham result. A draw is most probable. We’ll see.