West Brom-West Ham United Preview

The Associated Press

Relegation-threatened West Ham United will be desperate for points as they play managerless West Bromwich Albion at Upton Park on Saturday in what will be the final match of 2013 for both clubs.

The Hammers (3-5-10) slipped down to 19th in the Premier League table - just one point above last-place Sunderland - after losing 3-1 at home to Arsenal on Boxing. Carlton Cole gave West Ham the lead early in the second half before two goals from Theo Walcott and a third by Lukas Podolski secured victory for the Gunners.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce felt his side could have gone on and won the match against Arsenal had they scored an all-important second goal.

"We had three golden chances after we scored," bemoaned Allardyce. "We had a great opportunity to win against the top of the league team and unfortunately we didn't take it because we didn't get the second. We paid the price today, sadly."

The Hammers have won only one of their last nine league games, and Allardyce will be looking to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window in order to bolster what threatens to be a long, hard battle for survival in the second half of the season.

West Ham's form at Upton Park has been especially disappointing. They have picked up just eight of a possible 27 points, with two wins, two draws and five defeats in front of their home supporters.

West Brom (3-8-7) moved up to 15th after a well-earned 1-1 draw at Tottenham on Thursday. Spurs took the lead on 36 minutes through a Christian Eriksen free kick before defender Jonas Olsson scored from close range to level matters two minutes later.

The Baggies have now gone eight games without a win and are still searching for a successor to Steve Clarke, who was sacked Dec. 14. However, caretaker boss Keith Downing has steered Albion to draws in both his matches in charge of the West Midlands club.

Downing, who made seven changes to his starting lineup and deployed an unfamiliar 5-3-1-1 formation, was delighted with his side's performance at White Hart Lane.

"We had good discipline and organisation and showed big hearts," said Downing. "We knew we had big characters in the dressing room and they showed that. I wasn't surprised how well it went with the formation.

"We've had a couple of days working at it and the training was good on Monday and Tuesday. I was pleased the way they responded after the first goal we conceded. We got back into the game quickly. Overall I'm delighted."

Despite securing a valuable point at Tottenham, West Brom have struggled on the road this campaign, with just one victory in nine league matches away from home.

West Ham took four points off West Brom last season. The teams played out a goalless draw at The Hawthorns in December, before the Hammers won 3-1 at Upton Park in March with two goals from Andy Carroll and a third by Gary O'Neil. Graham Dorrans scored a late penalty for the Baggies before Youssouf Mulumbu was sent off for kicking the ball at O'Neil.

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