James McClean

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Season strugglers: Inominious PL performances

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Tuesday found us breaking ties on our “Most Impactful Premier League Summer Buys” rankings by digging through some advanced statistics sites.

In doing so, something struck us: We rarely if ever check out which players are faring the worst when it comes to those next level numbers.

Ah, the international break: Good for off-the-wall posts.

[ MORE: Alonso, Pedro have Morata’s back]

At the risk of kicking a player while he’s down, here are some negative numbers that stand out from the pack.

Of the 358 players who’ve played at least 10 Premier League matches, Joe Hart is having the worst season of the bunch according to Squawka. That’s a bit misleading due to how the site’s metrics operate, considering eight of the bottom 20 players are goalkeepers (and several, like Jonas Lossl and Jordan Pickford, are having outstanding campaigns).

So the unfortunate honor goes to Swansea defender Martin Olsson, who edges James McClean of West Brom for the infamy. Since the site does heap numbers on players by action accumulated, perhaps it’s better to single out the per-game and per-90 strugglers. Olsson and McClean are still very much near the bottom, but surprisingly Yannick Bolasie is the worst per game, and Swansea’s Wayne Routledge is having the least effective season per 90 minutes.

As for WhoScored, its metrics are hammering forwards, with Lys Mousset, Andre Gray, and Benik Afobe at the back of the back (ahead of McClean, again, who is a multi-site struggler).

These stats aren’t perfect, of course, and I like the idea of having McClean on my squad. But there are some other odds stats in the pack.

 These players might want to pass their next opportunity to the keeper. Of players with 10 or more shot attempts this season, Adam Lallana (11), Renato Sanches (12), Lewis Cook (14), and Dale Stephens (15) have failed to put a single shot on target.

— Of the 81 players who’ve tried their luck 30 times or more, these are the worst accuracy rates

— For perspective, Harry Kane has put 56 percent of his league-leading 162 shots on target, while second place man Mohamed Salah is 61 percent of 118.

— Defensive errors also can be increased significantly by the times a player is put under pressure by his team, which is why goalkeepers are high on Squawka’s list. Take them out, and you get a list with Spurs’ Eric Dier up top. Two of his six errors have led to goals against Tottenham, with Zanka (Huddersfield Town), Alfie Mawson (Swans), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), and Shane Duffy (Brighton) next with four errors.

West Brom 1-2 Huddersfield Town: Terriers climb

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  • Van la Parra gives Terriers lead
  • Mounie makes it 2-0
  • Dawson pullback not enough

Rajiv Van la Parra and Steve Mounie scored second half goals to boost Huddersfield Town four points clear of the drop zone with a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Craig Dawson scored to give the Baggies hope of a comeback, but it was deflated and West Brom is now seven points back of safety with 10 matches to play.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Brom saw an early chance fall to Salomon Rondon, but the Venezuelan blazed over the bar.

Huddersfield were unlucky with a chance produced by Florent Hadergjonaj, as an Alex Pritchard shot caught a teammate in the face and the Terriers couldn’t clean up the loose ball.

Matt Phillips provided a typical fine cross to James McClean near the halftime whistle, but the Irish attacker belted it high.

Town took the lead after halftime, as Van la Parra’s mishit cross was rescued by Collin Quaner and sent into the goal by the same man who bungled the cross.

And Mounie made West Brom’s short-term and long-term fate look dim by putting down a second Town marker off an assist from club record signing Pritchard.

Hold on, though.

Dawson had an answer for the hosts off a Chris Brunt cross, and it was nearly level when Jonas Lossl denied Brunt late on.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

West Ham 2-1 West Brom: Big Andy leads comeback win

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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  • Carroll scores first goals since April 1, 2017
  • First brace since Jan. 21, 2017
  • McClean scores for Baggies
  • West Brom winless since August
  • West Ham out of the drop zone

Unique hairstyles and towering headers: That’s what Andy Carrol does, and the big Englishman beat Ben Foster twice to keep West Bromwich Albion winless since August following a 2-1 loss to West Ham United at the London Stadium.

James McClean put the Baggies ahead, but the lead would not last and West Brom remains in the drop zone with 16 points, five points behind the 15th place Hammers.

The match was also notable for an ugly incident in which West Brom’s Jake Livermore, incensed by something in the crowd, climbed into the stands.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Ham came flying out of the gate, with plenty of pressure down the right and an early Manuel Lanzini yellow card, but the visitors came closest to opening the scoring on an audacious Salomon Rondon chip that just passed the cross bar.

The Irons took five of the first six shots, but the Baggies scored the opener when Rondon set up James McClean on a counter attack. Alan Pardew‘s Baggies had a look at their first win since August.

West Brom was cagey in pursuit of the win, and the Irons’ central midfield had problems with the Baggies’ superior numbers.

Carroll had trouble getting free up top, but the Baggies gave him an opening in the 59th minute. He hammered a Cresswell cross to the left of Foster to make it 1-1 in the 59th.

Arnautovic was denied by a charging Foster, and Angelo Ogbonna then made a timely intervention after Oliver Burke beat him for pace to a delightful through ball from Rondon.

Yet Carroll was there deep into stoppage time to send bubbles into the air when he hammered a shot behind Foster from an acute angle after an Arnautovic cross eluded Javier Hernandez.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

PL AT HALF: Goals in all matches; Sterling scores 39 secs in

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Every match has seen at least one goal as four Tuesday matches keep the festive fixtures running toward their Thursday conclusion.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]

Manchester City 2-0 Watford (30 mins)

It would be 8-0 on aggregate if City and Watford were playing a proper tie, as Raheem Sterling scored after 39 seconds off a Leroy Sane feed, and Kevin De Bruyne (and a lurking Sergio Aguero) forced an own goal out of Christian Kabasele.

West Ham United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

The hosts came flying out of the games, but a lively Salomon Rondon nearly scored before setting up James McClean for an opener. The Baggies are on track for their first league win since August.

Southampton 1-0 Crystal Palace

St. Mary’s is quite pleased for both drought-ending Shane Long and its thirsty Saints, who are up 1-0 after Long cleaned up a Jeremy Pied cross.

Swansea City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Fernando Llorente started against his old club with Harry Kane seemingly rested for Thursday’s West Ham tilt, and the Spaniard headed home Christian Eriksen‘s free kick to give Spurs the early lead.

West Brom 1-1 Arsenal: Late NYE drama

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  • James McClean own goal put Arsenal ahead
  • Jay Rodriguez scores 89th minute penalty
  • West Brom without a win in 19

Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion both scored late on New Year’s Eve at the Hawthorns in a 1-1 draw, with Arsene Wenger left fuming on the day he set a new record for the number of games (811) managed in the Premier League.

Alexis Sanchez’s free kick, which deflected off James McClean and went down as an own goal, put Arsenal ahead late on but Jay Rodriguez’s controversial penalty one minute from time grabbed a point for the Baggies.

With the point Arsenal move up to fifth but are three points off the top four, while West Brom move off the bottom of the table.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Early on Rodriguez headed Matt Phillips‘ cross on target but Petr Cech saved fairly easily as West Brom started well.

Cech then failed to deal comfortably with a high ball into the box but Arsenal broke superbly and Lacazette saw his deflected effort fly just wide.

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Alex Iwobi then found plenty of space on the edge of the box but he curled his effort over the bar.

West Brom held firm defensively and Arsenal were frustrated in the first half.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

On the hour mark Lacazette raced into the box but Foster denied him as the Gunners pushed hard for the opener as the Frenchman tapped just wide soon after.

Lacazette and Sanchez almost unlocked West Brom’s defense soon after but the latter was denied by a heroic block as the Baggies dropped deeper and deeper late on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Rodriguez forced Cech into a smart save after a rare West Brom attack but soon after Arsenal were ahead. Sanchez won a free kick and then his effort deflected off McClean and in as it went down as an own goal. 1-0 to the Arsenal and that’s how it looked to be finishing…

Then referee Mike Dean awarded West Brom a penalty kick for a handball on Calum Chambers after Kieran Gibbs hit the ball towards him from close range and it brushed the arm of the Arsenal defender.

Amid Arsenal’s complaints, Rodriguez kept his cool to slot home the equalizer and grab a point for his team.