It was West Ham that scored first, but it’s the visitors that lead, with two goals from Nicolas Anelka putting West Brom in front at Upton Park.
Sam Allardyce’s side, playing their usual counter-attacking style, were in front before five minutes were up. After Chris Brunt hit the side of Jussi Jääskeläinen’s net, the Irons flew up the pitch in pursuit of a headed pass from Carlton Cole. With the Baggies’ attention focused on Kevin Nolan, Joe Cole was able to slip past the defense to get on the end of his pass. Joe Cole easily slotted into the bottom right corner, giving West Ham the lead.
But, as happened against Arsenal on Boxing Day, West Ham’s tactics seemed all too easy to catch out. Anelka took advantage, scoring a brace before the whistle blew to end the first half.
On 40 minutes, the Frenchman latched on to a through ball from Brunt. Despite looking rather sluggish for most of the match, Anelka’s positioning allowed him to outstrip Joey O’Brien, and he was able to slot in from close range.
Nico’s second goal came five minutes later. A corner, hotly disputed by West Ham, allowed Brunt to get the ball inside the area. Carlton Cole managed to block a header from Jonas Olsson, but the ball fell to Anelka’s feet. The Frenchman had no trouble tapping in to give his side the lead.