Fans will finally return to The Hawthorns this evening with the Albion faithful able to get their first in-person glimpse of Sam Allardyce, as West Ham United visit.
With David Moyes’ side pushing for a European spot, they’ll prove tricky opposition for the already-relegated Baggies who’ll be looking to provide their fans with spot of excitement ahead of next season.
Whilst Allardyce maintains that he is yet to make a decision ahead of next season, his team selection for the last-gasp defeat against Liverpool at the weekend suggested otherwise.
Grady Diangana’s first start since January was enough to convince fans that Big Sam is willing to give players the opportunity for them to convince him before the summer transfer window opens.
A similar line-up should be expected for visit of the Irons.
Hal Robson-Kanu is likely to keep his place in the starting XI having beaten eventual matchwinner Alisson with a composed finish. Though Karlan Grant did make a rare appearance against Jurgen Klopp’s side, so a return for him cannot be discounted.
There will be no experimenting from Moyes, who will look to complete an extremely impressive season with consecutive wins over Albion and Southampton.
Though there could be a couple of changes made by the former Manchester United and Everton boss. Saïd Benrahma came off the bench to rescue a point for his side at Brighton, and it would be no surprise to see the Algerian start.
Declan Rice could also make a timely return tonight. Extremely reputable West Ham news source EXWHUEmployee, states that Rice is fully fit and available for selection despite social media rumours suggesting otherwise.
Former Albion stalwart Craig Dawson is highly likely to start and should receive a fairly decent reception from the Albion supporters given his service. Though his action towards the last of his time at the club may force an opposite reaction.
Moyes may also be keeping an eye on Albion ‘keeper Sam Johnstone, with the Hammers reportedly set to sign the England international this summer.
Albion should look to play with freedom, with the lack of pressure providing a platform to entertain their supporters. But as ever, the basis of their performance will be structured on defence, with the pace of Diangana and technical ability of Matheus Pereira looking to threaten on the counter.
West Ham will look to take the initiative due to their need to win. A front four of Michail Antonio, Benrahma, Jesse Lingard and Jarrod Bowen should prove a tough ask for the Albion defence to deal with.
The added presence of Rice will make the challenge a tougher one for Albion and Thomas Soucek’s goals from midfield have proved valuable weapon for the Irons this year.
The Baggies should also be aware of Dawson’s attacking capabilities from set-pieces.
With Albion’s improvement across the last couple of months and West Ham’s impressive form this season, a tight game is in the making, and a draw is very much possible.
Score Prediction: West Brom 1-1 West Ham