West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Middlesbrough Result: Stalemate at The Hawthorns

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Middlesbrough Result: Stalemate at The Hawthorns
Photo: VAVEL UK
West Bromwich Albion
Middlesbrough
West Bromwich Albion: West Brom: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Galloway, Fletcher, Yacob, Phillips, Field (Gardner), McClean (Leko(Berahino)), Rondon. Olsson, Gardner, Lambert, Berahino, Rose, Leko, Wilson.
Middlesbrough: Middlesbrough: Guzan, Nsue, Ayala, Gibson, Barragan, Clayton, Forshaw, Stuani(Fischer), Ramirez(Nugent), Downing, Negredo. Konstantopoulos. Espinosa, Rhodes, Fischer, Reach, de Sart, Nugent.
SCORE: 0-0
REFEREE: Anthony Taylor
INCIDENTS: The Hawthorns

That is it from me. I've been your esteemed host Neil Leverett (@the91stneil) and I'll see you again. Good afternoon!

The Baggies will be by far the busier of the two this week, as the window slams shut on another summer window. Defensively there is little to moan about, but West Brom are desperate for offensive solidity. In every shape.

Only two efforts on goal in 90 minutes says it all. Lots of effort on show, but both sides limp to a point. The visitors will probably be the happier. The point sees Middlesbrough into sixth place and unbeaten. West Brom sit in tenth, just a point behind today's opponents. There remains significant unrest in the West Midlands.

FULL TIME: West Brom 0-0 Middlesbrough

93' +59 That'll be a no then......

Substitution: Viktor Fischer for Cristhian Stuani: The former Ajax man makes his Premier League bow.

4 mins added on time: Does either side have a winner in them? (probably not).

88' We are hurtling towards stalemate. 

85' Since his early caution, Dani Ayala has had a solid outing in the away defence. The defender almost notches an own goal on his clearance away however, but after richocheting off Guzan, squirms back to Stuani who can clear.

83' CHANCE: Stewart Downing in a rare soujourn forward, hits a signature rasping drive but fizzes wide of Brad Guzan's far post.

Substitution: David Nugent for Gaston Ramirez

80' 'Boro's full backs are beginning to advance down the flanks. Emilio Nsue wins a corner and Downing delivery is aimed for the head of Ayala. After a few seconds of panic, West Brom shovel the ball away.

76' Again more poor execution as Stewart Downing blazes over..sums this afternoon up sadly..

Substitution: Craig Gardner for Sam Field: Field's race is run. The 18 year old has had a decent showing in what has been a largely lifeless encounter. Craig Gardner is on as Tony Pulis plays his final ace.

72' CHANCE: with less than 20 minutes to go, Middlesbrough have their first shot on target. Antonio Barragan is clever on the left and cuts inside to Negredo. The man on loan from Valencia scuttles into the area and slides the ball wide to Stuani, but his timing is off - at an angle - and Guzan greatufully receives.  

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Substitution: Saido Berahino for Jonathan Leko: Indeed Leko cannot continue, as his six-minute cameo is at an end. Berahino is on in his place.

 68' Berahino sits in the stairwell in the dugout but there is no sign yet of his imminent arrival. More Pulis mind games? Leko meanwhile is in bit of trouble and is attempting to carry on. But it doesnt look good.

Substitution: Jonathan Leko for James McClean:  A West Brom change but its not Saido time, just yet. Jonathan Leko comes on for James McClean who started well but has faded in the second half.

64' CHANCE: Craig Dawson scored four goals for The Baggies last term and the right back almost opens his account for the season. Again it is Matt Phillips with the corner and as Dawson finds the space from 8 yards, nods narrowly wide of Brad Guzan's goal.

61' A Matt Phillips free kick is floated in dangerously, but Stuani is again on hand to clear the danger. The Uruguayan has be excellent at the back today.

58' It appears to be time for Saido. Can Berahino make his mark?

For that to happen alas, we need a goal......

54' Still decidely cagey affair. Saido Berahino warms up along the touchline giving his manager a gentle nudge in the arm. If the U21 interanational were to score, what would that do for his future? 

49' There were concerns over a slight knock picked up by Negredo on half time. There are options aplenty for Aitor Karanka to consider with Viktor Fischer, Jordan Rhodes and David Nugent al champing at the bit to get involved. The Spaniard seems to be okay as again as he forages a lone figure this muggy afternoon.

YELLOW CARD: Gaston Ramirez goes into the book for a late challenge on Brendan Galloway.

47' Rondon and McClean have been on the training pitch together. Clearly. The chemistry is there, but so far the Irishman's distribution has not had the desired purchase. 

KICK OFF: We are back under way with no changes.

Interestingly, the last time the two sides met back in 2010, both sides were in the Championship. That season, The Baggies won 2-0 here and hammered 'Boro 5-0 at The Riverside.

I mean, I'd just like a goal.

I'm off for an ice lolly....

Lots of huff and puff then, but as documented not penetration in the final third. James McClean has posed the most threat for either sides. Its not awful. But another goalless West Brom game is on the cards...

HALF TIME: West Brom 0-0 Middlesbrough 

45' CHANCE. Right on half time and - you guessed it - from a West Brom set piece, Guzan is a mighty lucky fellow. Matt Phillips pings a cross in the six-yard box and as Guzan flies off his line like zebedee but misses. Rondon lurches towards the dropping ball, but can't quite get any purchase on the cross. Mighty close.

43' Galloway in showing what Everton fans loved in the early part of last season. The full-back whips in a peach of a cross towards Rondon, but the diving Venezuelan reach is beyond him, with Gibson close to giving away a foul. There was a hand on the shirt there. Hmmm 

38' Galloway has other ideas however. The left-back makes his customary surge on the left and into the area, strikes low on goal but Guzan's hands are safe. No butter on the American's gloves this week. At least, not yet...

35' Tens minutes until both teams get the haltfime oranges out, but there is no clear indication of a breaking of the deadlock before then. The ball is getting bogged down in the middle of the park; nice play, nice passing, zero creativity in the final third. 

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31' Middlesbrough are inching toward the Baggies' goal. Negredo is found by a cute pass by Gaston Ramirez, but with the Spaniard advancing, Gareth McAuley shuts the danger resolutely out. Boro then get a string of corners but Rondon clear the danger successfully, twice. Better from the visitors.

28' More aerial bombardment from West Brom. Craig Dawson lofts a deep ball towards the far post at McClean and looking to find Rondon centrally, is denied the opening by Guzan.  

25' The away side have settled down and are now visibly creeping into the game. Negredo and Stuani are prowling like the feline in my garden last night, but are yet to have any joy. 

19' 'Boro are showing signs of life, but are the product of their downfall in defence. This time, Ben Gibson is at fault as Field escapes the clutches of his man and clips the ball goalwards, but again the delivery leaves much to be desired. 

16' Sam Field looks undaunted on his first start. The play again comes down the left for West Brom and McClean once more loops across towards Salomon Rondon. The Venezuelan's header sails comfortably wide.

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getty

11' CHANCE: James McClean is having a lively start and is finding what seems an acre of Hawthorn space. Fletcher is involved in the build-up and a neat lay off finds the Scot from 10 yards out. His shot is parried by Guzan into the path of McClean but the midfielder can only scuff wide of the target from close quarters.

8' West Brom's five-man midfield in flooding the park, but they are suddenly exposed on the right. Cristhian Stuani evades the advances of Galloway but his cross into the area is over-cooked. 

6' Pulis have got his charges on song for this one. The ever-reliable Baggies set piece is on show again. From a corner Jonny Evans flicks the delivery goalwards but Darren Fletcher can't get underneath and flops harmlessly over the watching Brad Guzan in the Boro goal.

4' West Brom have started on the front foot. James McClean runs through the middle - unchallenged. The space opens up for the Irishman but with the goal on view, Antonio Barragan makes a vital interception.

YELLOW CARD: Not the ideal start for Ayala. After Brendan Galloway scampers down the left, the centre-back races out to cut the ball out, but horribly mistimes his challenge and who is cautioned after just 80 seconds. Rusty. The resulting free-kick comes to nothing.

KICK OFF: Anthony Taylor gets things under way.

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The players are in the tunnel at The Hawthorns.

AFP
AFP

At the other end, Alvaro Negredo has slotted in like a sqaure peg in a square-shaped hole in attack. Scoring on his top-flight debut at the The Riverside, the Spaniard has become an instant hit. His double assist versus North-East rivals did his position no harm, whatsoever..

Dani Ayala returns to the heart of the Middlesbrough after being robbed of pre-season with a niggling groin injury. Together with Ben Gibson - nephew of chairman Steve - Karanka's side had the best defensive record in the Championship last season, conceding just 31 goals.

Will Sam have his (field) day? ahem....

The other big talking point for the Boinging Baggies in the inclusion of Sam Field. The 18 year-old made his Premier League bow versus Liverpool at the end of last season. Field signed his first professional contract in the summer an is now poised to make his entrance. 

Tony Pulis has however stressed that his omittance from the starting XI is not due to an impending move. 'Saido has three days til the end of another window. When the window shuts, his head will be back in the game.'  Time will tell on this one.

(AFP)
(AFP)

So the plot thickens once more for Saido Berahino. After yet another window of being linked away from West Brom, the forward finds himself again on the bench.

Middlesbrough Team News: Aitor Karanka makes just the one change, as Dani Ayala makes his first Premier League appearance for 'Boro having fully recovered from the injury that has kept him out of pre-season. George Friend is ruled out so Antonio Barragan slots into left-back, after an impressive display in the Tees-Wear derby last Sunday.

WBA Team News: Tony Pulis has shuffled the pack on the back of Tuesday night's EFL cup defeat to Northampton. Brendan Galloway has shaken off the injury that saw him substituted at Sixfields and replaces Jonas Olsson.

Craig Gardner is dropped to the bench in favour of Sam Field, who makes his first Premier League start. James McClean also comes in as Saido Berahino drops out. Kane Wilson in named on the bench also.

Middlesbrough: Guzan, Nsue, Ayala, Gibson, Barragan, Clayton, Forshaw, Stuani, Ramirez, Downing, Negredo. Konstantopoulos. Espinosa, Rhodes, Fischer, Reach, de Sart, Nugent.

West Brom: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Galloway, Fletcher, Yacob, Phillips, Field, McClean, Rondon. Olsson, Gardner, Lambert, Berahino, Rose, Leko, Wilson.

The teams are in....

So we are all set for West Brom versus Middlesbrough live from The Hawthorns this Sunday afternoon. Kick off is at 1.30pm, but we'll bring you team news at 12.45. See you then!

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(getty)

Midfield duo Grant Leadbitter and Martin de Roon are also both absent with hernia and groin complaints, whilst goalkeeper Victor Valdes is again absent with a hamstring injury. Brad Guzan is expected to keep his place despite an indifferent showing last weekend.

Bernardo Espinosa could make his first league appearance for Middlesbrough after an ACL injury. Dani Ayala may return to the starting XI however. 

Aitor Karanka has a number of concerns ahead of the clash at The Hawthorns. Full-back duo of George Friend and Fabio da Silva are boths expected to miss out after sustaining calf and knee problems respectively versus Fulham on Wednseday night. The 'Boro boss will also be unable to call on James Husband in their stead who continues to nurse a dislocated shoulder.  

As documented, Brendan Galloway is a doubt for West Brom with thr knock that forced his off in the EFL cup. Defender Jonny Evans is the only other doubt for Tony Pulis with a hip injury. Chris Brunt is set to make his return from an ACL injury in October.

The teenager's performance during his minutes on the pitch have led to suggestions that Wilson may make Premier League history this weekend, as the first player born after the turn of the millennium to play a competitive top-flight game. 

Is Kane Wilson set to make Premier League history (getty)
Is Kane Wilson set to make Premier League history (getty)

Tony Pulis also has his own selections to ponder. After Brendan Galloway made the loan move from Merseyside in midweek, the left-back was installed straight into the first team against Northampton. The 20 year-old however was substituted with an injury mid-way through the second half in favour of Kane Wilson.

'Boro boss Karanka has a decision whether to recall Dani Ayala to his starting XI. The Spanish centre-back has not played a single pre-season friendly due to injury but was last term part of the best defence in the Championship, conceding just 31 goals.

With a takeover in the pipeline, the Welshman's transfer activity up until deadline may be decisive in winning his detractors around. With moves for forwards Jay Rodriguez, a multi-million pound deal for Sporting Lisbon's Islam Slimani and Leeds United left-back Charlie Taylor being mooted, the Baggies boss still hopes to bring in up to five new faces before the window slams shut. 

In contrast, goals are becoming a thorny issue at The Hawthorns. In a survey released this week, West Brom fans are still unhappy with Pulis at the reigns in fact most no longer want him in control of the club.

Uruguayan international Stuani's spectacular long-range opener highlighted the reasons Karanka brought the attacking midfielder to The Stadium of Light last summer. Stuani will be looking to add to his tally this afternoon. 

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The former Manchester City striker has shown why Manuel Pellegrini paid £16.4m for his services in 2013. Netting on his Premier League debut for Boro, Negredo assisted both of Cristhian Stuani's brace last Sunday in the Tees-Wear derby.

Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough have made an assured start on their return to the top flight. Since his loan move from Valencia, striker Álvaro Negredo has been the catalyst for much it.

After Gareth McAuley's headed goal gave West Brom the lead, goals from Kevin Mirallas and and Gareth Barry saw The Toffees come from behind to win 2-1. Tony Pulis' men have now won one and lost one after an opening day defeat of struggling Crystal Palace.

It has been an uncertain start to the 2016/17 campaign for West Brom. The Baggies will be looking to bounce back from last weekend's defeat to Everton and most critcially their loss to the The Cobblers in midweek. 

Good afternoon and welcome to VAVEL UK's live coverage of the Premier League clash between West Brom and Middlesbrough from The Hawthorns. I am Neil Leverett and I will be your guide through events this Sunday afternoon. You can tweet me @the91stneil.   

Can Pulis relieve the pressure cooker? (photo:getty)
Can Pulis relieve the pressure cooker? (photo:getty)

Tony Pulis is a man under pressure. Having lost at home last weekend versus Everton, the West Brom boss saw his side stunned by League One side Northampton Town in the EFL Cup on Tuesday night. Fan unrest is at a all-time high during Pulis' tenure in the West Midlands, so can the Welshman turn the tide this afternoon?