Dec 28, 2013, 7:04 AM EDT
Saturday’s matches kick off with a relegation battle. West Bromwich Albion visits Upton Park sitting just a point above the drop zone, and three points above the hosts, West Ham United (7:45 a.m. ET, watch live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
Despite having fired Steve Clarke because the manager failed to win, West Brom are still unable to secure three points. The Baggies are now winless in eight and have won just once on the road, although they did come back to secure a 1-1 draw against Tottenham on Boxing Day.
The visitors miss Shane Long once more, and they’re also without Victor Anichebe and Zoltán Gera. Matej Vydra, on loan from Udinese, drops to the bench, as does Morgan Amalfitano. That leaves Saido Berahino and Nicolas Anelka to spearhead the attack.
West Ham are faring even worse, with just one win in their last six outings leaving them stranded in 19th. More distressingly for Sam Allardyce, his team can no longer keep out goals, conceding four to Liverpool and three each to Manchester United and Arsenal, the latter after having taken a lead early in the second half.
Jussi Jääskeläinen returns in goal for the Irons, but James Collins misses out through injury, and there’s still no Ravel Morrison for West Ham. Allardyce will continue to field a traditional center forward, with Carlton Cole, who scored against Arsenal last time out, taking his place up top.
West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, McCartney, Nolan, Tomkins, Jarvis, Rat, Noble, O’Brien, Diame, C.Cole, J.Cole
Subs: Adrian, Collison, Maiga, Taylor, Diarra, Demel, Chambers
West Bromwich Albion: Foster; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Lugano, Ridgewell; Morrison, Mulumbu, Brunt; Anelka, Berahino
Subs: Myhill, Vydra, Dawson, Sessegnon, Sinclair, Yacob, Amalfitano
- 2015 Gold Cup – Group A preview: USMNT favorites over Honduras, Panama, Haiti 0
- Clint Dempsey replaced by Michael Bradley as USMNT captain for Gold Cup 5
- Despite devastating World Cup exit, England’s women inspired a nation 5
- US ask Switzerland to extradite seven FIFA officials 0
- The world wants Laura Bassett to know that her own goal is nothing to be ashamed of… 9
- Minnesota United misses MLS stadium deadline; Deputy commissioner speaks out 2