West Brom Albion vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Venue: The Hawthorns
Referee: Lee Mason
TV: Sky Sports
The Baggies host the Seagulls at The Hawthorns as Sam Allardyce’s side look to end a barren run of seven games without a win.
Last time out West Brom held on for a point against Burnley in a 0-0 draw. Semi Ajayi stole the headlines after being sent off after only 3o minutes, leaving the Baggies with an uphill battle. Much to Allardyce’s relief, Albion clung on to get their eighth draw of the season, but they remain second bottom of the league with 14 points.
Brighton also dropped points, losing 2-1 to Crystal Palace after dominating much of the match. Philippe Mateta scored Crystal Palace’s opener with a superb backheel goal. Joel Veltman equalised soon after halftime, but it was in vain as Christian Benteke volleyed home a 95th-minute winner, with Palace’s second shot on target in the game.
West Brom, much like Sheffield United, failed to get out of first gear and have been stuck at the bottom of the table all season. The Baggies have the least number of wins in the league, with two, coming against Sheffield United and Wolves.
Newcastle and Fulham are the two clubs that the Albion would need to overtake to remain in the Premier League. Unfortunately for the Baggies, it’s a tall order, as 11 points separate them from safety. Their biggest game of the season might come against Newcastle in two weeks’ time, a win against the Magpies would shorten the gap dramatically.
Brighton, who are in 16th, are just four points away from safety. The story of the Seagulls season has been wasted opportunities and their previous game against Crystal Palace was a prime example of this. Brighton had 25 total shots, compared to The Eagles, who had three and won the game. Saturday’s clash could be a different story, as it’s no secret that West Brom are poor defensively, so Potter will be ordering goals following Monday’s wasted opportunities.
The Baggies dangerman is Matheus Pereira, who has scored vital goals for Albion this season. The Brazilian midfielder has five goals and four assists to his name and will almost certainly be involved if West Brom are to clinch a win. Brighton will look to Neal Maupay for goals. The striker has seven goals this season and will give the West Brom defence a headache with his runs in behind.
Sam Allardyce is renowned for keeping his teams up and avoiding relegation. In fact, Allardyce has never been relegated as a manager in the topflight, saving clubs such as Sunderland and Crystal Palace. Avoiding relegation this season would be a miraculous achievement, but one he is certainly capable of. If this miracle is to happen, results are needed sooner rather than later.
Sam Allardyce’s squad picked up no fresh injuries ahead of this Saturday’s fixture. Ibidapo Ajay will be suspended until the 4th of March, following his reckless handball.
Robert Snodgrass missed the game against Burnley last week due to a knee injury, so it’s unlikely he will be available for Saturday’s clash.
Graham Potter’s side have a number of injuries ahead of Saturday’s clash. Tariq Lamptey could soon return after recovering from a hamstring injury whilst Solly March and Adam Webster are both unlikely to feature as they have picked up long-term injuries.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh is available for selection, though he is short of match fitness after six weeks on the sideline. Leandro Trossard will likely start in attack after impressing against Villa, but Danny Welbeck and Aaron Connolly will be pushing Neal Maupay, who is without a goal in five games.
Predicted Starting XIs
West Brom (4-3-3): Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend; Gallagher, Yokuslu, Maitland-Niles; Snodgrass, Diagne, Matheus Pereira
Brighton Hove Albion (3-4-1-2): Sanchez; White, Dunk, Burn; Veltman, Gross, Bissouma, Alzate; Alexis Mac Allister; Maupay, Trossard
Predicted Score: West Brom Albion 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
West Brom have looked short of confidence all season and I’m backing them to lose this weekend. Graham Potter’s side have looked really sharp in recent weeks and if they start taking their chances, they’ll begin to move up the table. I think this will be a close match, but I think the Seagulls will have too much quality for Albion.