Nobody hires Sam Allardyce if they want fantasy football. They bring him in because of his ability to organise a defence and haul a struggling team away from the brink. Yet the numbers are starting to look grim for one of English football’s most renowned escapologists and unless West Brom eradicate their flaws at the back, this could prove to be one rescue mission beyond even his capabilities.

It felt desperate as West Brom slipped to another defeat. As Darnell Furlong cracked a late chance of an equaliser wide, Allardyce let out an anguished howl of desperation on the touchline. He knows his proud record of never being relegated from the Premier League is under serious threat. West Brom, who remain five points below Burnley in 17th place, have conceded 17 goals in six league games since he was appointed and there was little sign of them sorting out defensive flaws against West Ham, who twice exposed them with straightforward deliveries into the area.

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