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Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Premier League clash between West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Fans will be in attendance as West Bromwich Albion play their final Premier League game at The Hawthorns before their return to the Championship on Wednesday, welcoming European hopefuls West Ham United to the Midlands.

The Baggies have already been consigned to relegation, but there is plenty left for West Ham to play for as they bid to end a fine season on a high.

Match preview

West Ham United manager David Moyes on May 9, 2021© Reuters

West Ham have suffered a dip in form at precisely the wrong time, taking just four points from the last 15 on offer to leave their top-four hopes hanging by a thread.

The Hammers had Champions League football in their grasp prior to that run of one win, one draw and three defeats, but their chances of reaching that unlikely goal may well have been extinguished once and for all by the time they kick off against West Brom.

Should Chelsea beat Leicester City on Tuesday night then West Ham would no longer be able to finish in the top four this season, while even a draw in that game would all but end West Ham's chances due to their inferior goal difference.

Reaching the promised land of the Champions League would have always been a far greater achievement than anyone expected from West Ham this term, and the prospect of Europa League, or even UEFA Conference League, qualification should still be regarded as a successful campaign.

As things stand the Hammers are set for the latter, with Saturday's 1-1 draw away to Brighton & Hove Albion leaving them in seventh place, level on points with sixth-placed Tottenham Hotspur but with a vastly inferior goal difference.

West Ham United's Said Benrahma celebrates scoring their first goal against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on May 15, 2021© Reuters

The draw at the Amex saw West Ham equal their club Premier League record of 28 away points in a season, and in their final match on the road in 2020-21 a victory would give them their highest away points tally in a top-flight campaign since 1985-86, when they finished third.

The Irons have avoided defeat in their final away game of the season in each of the last four seasons and could complete the league double over West Brom for the first time since 2005-06 in this match.

Sam Allardyce's side proved that they will fight to the end regardless of their relegation last time out, though, coming within seconds of holding Liverpool to a draw and all but ending their top-four hopes too.

In the end, an extraordinary 95th-minute winner from Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker saw West Brom go home empty-handed, although Allardyce was keen to focus on refereeing and VAR decisions which went against his side in that match.

Over the course of the campaign the Baggies simply have not been good enough, though, and that is a costly trend which has continued since Allardyce's arrival.

West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce on May 9, 2021© Reuters

Ordinarily the troubleshooting architect of obstinance, Allardyce has struggled to have the same impact at West Brom, with his side keeping only four clean sheets and conceding a joint league-high 44 goals since he took charge in December.

The Baggies need just one more point - or for Sheffield United to fail to win one of their two remaining games - to ensure that they will not finish bottom of the table, but 18th place is the ceiling of their ambition now.

A five-game winless run after a brief resurgence means that the focus will now begin to switch back to the Championship, ahead of a big summer in which the futures of some key players and their manager will be at the top of the agenda.

Finishing the season on a high against West Ham and Leeds United could help convince some that an immediate return to the top flight is likely next season, although to do so they will need an improve a record of only two wins from their last 16 Premier League games against the Hammers.

Indeed, Allardyce himself has lost all four of his league meetings with West Ham since leaving the club in 2015, while he has lost each of his last seven showdowns with David Moyes in the opposite dugout.

West Bromwich Albion Premier League form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L

West Ham United Premier League form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

Team News

Declan Rice in action for West Ham United on February 21, 2021© Reuters

West Ham welcomed Declan Rice back into their starting XI against Brighton, and the England international came through his return from injury unscathed.

More good news could be incoming for Moyes too, with Arthur Masuaku and Manuel Lanzini facing late fitness tests ahead of this match.

Both are considered major doubts to recover in time for Wednesday, but they could yet feature in the final game of the season to send West Ham into the summer with a fully fit squad.

Michail Antonio is expected to lead the line again, having had a direct hand in 14 goals in his last 14 away Premier League starts, scoring 11 and assisting three himself.

Said Benrahma came off the bench to net his first Premier League goal and earn West Ham a point at Brighton, and so he will be hopeful of a starting role this time around.

West Brom also have a relatively clean bill of health, with Branislav Ivanovic and former West Ham man Robert Snodgrass the only absentees.

Allardyce's main decision comes up front, where Hal Robson-Kanu was handed his first top-flight start since December 2017 on Sunday, going on to reward his manager's faith with a well-taken goal.

The 31-year-old's relative lack of game time in recent months could see him struggle to play twice in three days, though, meaning that Mbaye Diagne could come back in.

Former West Ham youngster Grady Diangana made his first league start since January against Liverpool and will hope to keep his place ahead of Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend; Phillips, Gallagher, Yokuslu, Maitland-Niles; Pereira; Diagne

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Lingard, Benrahma; Antonio

SM words green background

We say: West Bromwich Albion 1-2 West Ham United

West Ham have not kept a clean sheet in their last nine league games, while the Baggies have conceded in their last five, so there should be chances and goals available at both ends of the pitch in this one.

The Hammers have shot themselves in the foot as far as the top-four race is concerned with an ill-timed dip in form, but Europa League football is still very much achievable and Moyes will want a good end to the season.

West Brom have already shown that they will go down fighting and the hosts will not be an easy touch for the visitors, but we expect West Ham to just about get the job done.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:

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West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce on May 9, 2021
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