West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was visibly furious with the officials after watching his side fall to a late equaliser against West Brom on Saturday, having come back from 1-0 down at the London Stadium.
The Hammers manager was sent to join his assistant, who had been sent off in the first half after Sofiane Feghouli’s equaliser was disallowed, in the stands in the aftermath of the goal having picked up a microphone and thrown it down in front of him.
The reaction was the result of a culmination of, according to the Croatian manager, mistakes from the referee Michael Oliver and his assistants throughout the game.
Whilst Bilic may have had every right to have been angry with decisions, it took away the gaze from one talking point; how did they get on without Andy Carroll?
The Hammers looked home and dry with just minutes to go at the London Stadium against West Brom, with goals from Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini having clawed them into the lead after Nacer Chadli’s opener five minutes in. Arguably a poor turn of luck in the build-up to Jonny Evans’ injury time equaliser is what cost Bilic’s side the three points, however, once everything has calmed there may be some positives to take.
Main man Andy Carroll, who picked up the Premier League Goal of the Month award last week for his acrobatic effort against former manager Sam Allardyce and his struggling Crystal Palace side, was not named in the squad to face the Baggies on Saturday, having come off at both Middlesbrough and Southampton with groin concerns.
Whilst the former Newcastle and Liverpool striker who, given his recent form, has been mooted as a potential member of Gareth Southgate’s next England squad, would be a miss to almost any side in the top flight, the east Londoners seemed to cope.
Despite looking off the pace in the early stages and maybe needing the focal point that the big striker, who bagged a quick equaliser at Southampton last weekend on the way to a 3-1, again having been one down, those in his place slowly began to take effect.
Into the second half and more and more chances were being created before a touch of luck landed that ball at the feet of Feghouli after Lanzini’s shot was tipped onto the bar.
Having probed and tested West Brom, one of the most well-structured and organised sides in the division, Lanzini once again took it upon himself to make a mark and fired a spectacular effort home from 25 yards out.
Whilst some may say the goals had a touch of fortune about them, those out there in place of Carroll had the spark to get into the right positions and take on the tougher chances where they didn’t have a target man to find.
West Ham will certainly miss Carroll when he is out, however, while the late draw will have been frustrating, there are signs the rest of the squad can cope without the big man.