Both sides draw a blank in drab goalless draw which fails to take the pressure off Slaven Bilic as Gareth Barry becomes Premier League record holder
GARETH BARRY equalled Ryan Giggs’ record as he starred in his 632nd Premier League match – while Tony Pulis clocked up a ton of matches in charge of West Brom.
However it is fair to say few others will remember this drab bad-tempered affair with much fondness as two evenly matched teams fought out a goalless stalemate.
Especially James Collins who ended the day on crutches after suffering a painful ankle injury early in the second half when no-one was near him.
Barry almost celebrated his record-equalling appearance with a rare goal when he looped a header over Joe Hart from a Matt Phillips corner after 12 minutes.
However the ball bounced off the roof of the net as it flew narrowly over its intended target and if ever a game needed an early goal – any goal – it was this one!
West Ham hit back when Michail Antonio out-muscled Ahmed Hegazi – no mean feat in itself – before drilling in a low shot which Ben Foster expertly smothered.
However the West Brom keeper was beaten after 29 minutes when Pedro Obiang unexpectedly drove a majestic shot from 45 yards which caught him on the hop.
Foster was stranded as the ball sailed over his head, before bouncing off the bar to his enormous relief before Jonny Evans chested the rebound into his waiting arms.
It was a massive let-off for the home side. However Albion are never more dangerous than when they are seemingly pinned back and on the back foot.
Suddenly they launched a counter-attack at blistering pace and West Ham were stretched as Phillips fired in a cross which Morrison headed wide from nine yards.
It was a mighty let off for Bilic’s side who suffered a blow after after half-time when James Collins suddenly buckled in pain with no-one near him.
When his replacement Marko Arnautovic went down injured West Brom infuriated the Hammers by refusing to kick the ball out of play.
There was further controversy when Foster raced 30 yards off his line to scythe down Chicharito . Referee Paul Tierney waved aside West Ham calls for a straight red card as Albion had two covering defenders.
INTERACTIVE STATS – CLICK on the categories to find out how the teams fared
FACTS, STATS, GOALS AND LOLS
- West Brom haD won just two of their last 13 matches versus West Ham in the Premier League before this game (D8 L3), with both victories arriving at the Hawthorns (1-0 in April 2014 and 4-2 in September 2016).
- Before kick-off West Ham had won just once in their last 10 Premier League away games (W1 D3 L6) and kept only one clean sheet in their last 18 top-flight matches on the road.
INTERACTIVE LINE-UPS – CLICK on a player’s number to see their stats
- After beating Huddersifled last week, West Ham were looking to win successive Premier League games for the first time since January.
- That win at the London Stadium was the first time Joe Hart had kept a clean sheet in 23 league matches, stretching back to his time on loan at Torino last season.
- Tony Pulis has averaged exactly one goal per game as a manager in the Premier League, with the Welshman taking charge of 314 matches and scoring 314 goals before this match.
- The average age of West Brom’s starting XI this season has been 29 years and six days old – the oldest in the Premier League so far in 2017-18.
- Javier Hernandez has been directly involved in five goals in five Premier League appearances against West Brom (three goals, two assists).
- Gareth Barry moved level with Ryan Giggs on 632 as the record holder for the most games played in the Premier League.
- Six players to have appeared in the Premier League this season were born after Barry made his debut in the competition, including West Brom’s Sam Field and Rekeem Harper.
- Hal Robson-Kanu headed straight at Joe Hart on 87 minutes – West Brom’s first attempt on target all game.
WHAT THEY SAID
Tony Pulis on Gareth Barry: “He was a player I admired and respected, when we brought him into the club we realised how good he was.
“I am disappointed he is not just starting with us and is coming to the back end of his career.”