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Premier League

  • 30 April 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
  • Referee: P. Dowd
  • • Attendance: 25889
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West Brom - Aston Villa Preview: Both sides looking for a win that would take them at least six points clear of the drop zone

West Brom - Aston Villa Preview: Both sides looking for a win that would take them at least six points clear of the drop zone

Gary McAllister fills in once more for the Villans in the absence of Gerard Houllier, and comes up against Roy Hodgson's rejuvenated Baggies, who have lost just once in eight




PROBABLE LINE-UPS
West Brom (4-5-1)
Carson; Reid, Meite, Olsson, Shorey; Brunt, Mulumbu, Scharner, Cox, Thomas; Odemwingie.
Steven Reid and Scott Carson are both doubts but will start if they can prove their fitness, while Simon Cox is likely to come in for James Morrison following his wonder strike against Tottenham Hotspur last week.
Aston Villa (4-3-3)
Friedel; L Young, Dunne, Collins, Walker; Downing, Petrov, Reo-Coker; Agbonlahor, Bent, A Young.
Gary McAllister will continue to take over first-team duties in the absence of hospitalised boss Gerard Houllier, who is rumoured to be preparing for a life away from football on doctor's advice. Emile Heskey is likely to make way for Gabriel Agbonlahor up front.
DID YOU KNOW?
  • Since Roy Hodgson's appointment, West Brom have been beaten only once in the league. That was their last game at the Hawthorns, which ended in a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea.
  • A win for hosts would give them at least a six-point gap to the drop zone with nine points left to play for. For the visitors, three points would give them a seven-point margin to the relegation zone.
  • Peter Odemwingie is the Baggies' top scorer with 13 goals in his maiden season in English football, leading to interest from European giants Juventus.
  • West Brom are bottom of the Premier League's half-time table, having gone into the break in a leading position on just five occasions.
  • Aston Villa front man Darren Bent (pictured right) is the top scoring Englishman in the Premier League this season, with 15 goals.
  • Scott Carson has kept just one clean sheet this season, the worst record of any goalkeeper in the top flight.
  • Baggies captain Chris Brunt is level with Andrey Arshavin, Leighton Baines, and Wayne Rooney with 11 Premier League assists, the fourth best in the league. Villa's Ashley Young is one behind on 10.
  • The two sides have met each other 133 times in the league, with Villa being successful 63 times to West Brom's 43.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
22Scott CarsonGoalkeeper
36Gonzalo JaraDefender
23Abdoulaye MeiteDefender
3Jonas OlssonDefender
20Nicky ShoreyDefender
33Paul ScharnerMidfielder
21Youssouf MulumbuMidfielder
7James MorrisonMidfielder
11Carlos VelaStriker
-Simon CoxStriker
9Peter OdemwingieStriker
13B. MyhillGoalkeeper
-Pablo IbáñezDefender
26James HurstDefender
-Sebastien Gabriel TamaşDefender
5Somen TchoyiMidfielder
28Marc-Antoine FortuneStriker
10Ishmael MillerStriker
24Brad FriedelGoalkeeper
2Kyle WalkerDefender
19James CollinsDefender
5Richard DunneDefender
18Luke YoungDefender
18Ashley YoungMidfielder
20Nigel Reo-CokerMidfielder
19Stilian PetrovMidfielder
19Stewart DowningMidfielder
11Gabriel AgbonlahorStriker
39Darren BentStriker
33Andy MarshallGoalkeeper
6Ciaran ClarkDefender
24Carlos Javier CuéllarDefender
8Robert PiresMidfielder
12Marc AlbrightonMidfielder
4Michael BradleyMidfielder
16Fabian DelphMidfielder
Players to Watch
Peter Odemwingie
Peter Odemwingie
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Nigerian striker has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water, notching up 13 goals in his first season in English football.

Blessed with pace, a deft first touch and a clinical streak, the 27-year-old will have to be closely monitored by Richard Dunne and James Collins if Villa are to keep a clean sheet.
Darren Bent
Darren Bent
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 39
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The England international has defied the critics since his controversial move from Sunderland in January. He scored on his debut to give Villa a win over Manchester City at home and has gone on to score seven times for the club, contributing towards lifting them out of the relegation fight.

He showed his mean streak against Stoke City last weekend where he placed a header from outside the box beyond the reach of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, and can play effectively against both high and deep defensive lines having worked on his movement in recent seasons.
Prediction
Hodgson has rejuvenated the Baggies since his February appointment, with his players responding magnificently from their solitary league defeat by snatching a point at White Hart Lane last weekend. Villa did similarly against Stoke, albeit at home under Gary McAllister in his first match at the helm.

Both sides can see the holy grail that is top flight survival on the horizon, but despite being almost safe there is still plenty to play for, as a defeat – combined with wins lower down the pecking order – could pull either club back down into the mire. Expect to see both teams go at it with the prize of safety on the line, with a goal apiece likely - a result that would be welcomed by both sets of supporters.
Editor's Prediction

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