Three things learnt as West Brom drew 0-0 with West Ham
Gareth Barry made a record-equalling 632nd Premier League appearance as West Brom and West Ham United played out a goalless draw at The Hawthorns.
The 36-year-old’s landmark afternoon was the major talking point of an otherwise forgettable encounter.
West Ham enjoyed the better of proceedings but were unable to break down a stubborn Baggies defence, as both teams were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.
Here are three things we learnt….
Fine servant Barry makes his milestone appearance
All the pre-match build-up focused on Barry, who has joined Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs on 632 Premier League appearances. It’s an extraordinary achievement that is testament to his dedication and longevity.
The veteran midfielder made his top-flight debut as a 17-year old for Aston Villa and has been a wonderful servant to Manchester City, Everton and now West Brom in a career that has spanned nearly two decades.
Even now in the autumn of his career, Barry remains a model of consistency that is showing no signs of heading off into retirement. Considering the professionalism with which he conducts himself, there is nothing to say he couldn’t go on for at least one more season.
Back-to-back clean sheets for Hart
West Ham’s dreadful start to the season saw them concede 10 goals in three successive defeats, which had piled the pressure on manager Slaven Bilic. Their victory over Huddersfield last week was a timely boost, upon which they have consolidated with a well-earned point on their travels.
Crucially, Joe Hart has steadied with ship with back-to-back clean sheets. The Manchester City loanee is desperate to keep his England place and knows he has to perform to a high standard, with the likes of Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland breathing down his neck.
West Ham have a wealth of attacking options but those will count for nothing if they are haemorrhaging goals. Hart’s past two performances bode well.
Shot-shy West Brom need a cutting edge
Tony Pulis’s sides are seldom described as ‘free-scoring’, with the emphasis firmly on being resolute defensively. This pragmatic approach often comes at the expense of entertainment.
The Baggies have yet to score more than once in any of their five Premier League games this season, although they have accrued eight points.
Jay Rodriguez was signed from Southampton in an effort to provide more firepower and although he netted in the 1-1 draw with Stoke, he has otherwise looked ineffective.
Pulis is unlikely to change his philosophy, but he needs to find a away of getting more goals from his side. West Brom will not win too many matches if they average less than one per game.
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