West Brom - Tottenham Preview: Champions League-chasing Spurs travel to stuttering Baggies
Andre Villas-Boas' men have not lost a Premier League game in their last eight fixtures, while the hosts are looking to rediscover their blistering early-season form
By John Stammers
Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Ridgewell
Dorrans, Mulumbu, Brunt, Thomas
Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto
Lennon, Holtby, Bale
Steve Clarke has no fresh injury problems and should be able to call on midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu after his nation DR Congo were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations. Liam Ridgewell may also return at the back in place of Goran Popov
Elsewhere Shane Long is pushing for a start after his goal against Everton, but Romelu Lukaku's form makes him a hard man to drop, with Marc-Antoine Fortune, Steven Reid and Claudio Yacob all in contention.
After a bizarre transfer deadline day in which he travelled to QPR without permission, only to be refused entry to the ground, Peter Odemwingie remains a West Brom player so is available, but is unlikely to feature on Sunday.
Andre Villas-Boas, meanwhile, remains without Emmanuel Adebayor and after failing to sign another striker in the January window Jermain Defoe will carry on up front.
The Tottenham boss will have to make a decision, however, in midfield as Lewis Holtby was impressive off the bench against Norwich, but with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey also vying for an attacking midfield role.
William Gallas returned to the substitutes bench for the draw with the Canaries and could be in with a chance of starting as well.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- West Brom have scored just 30.3% of their goals against top-ten teams, the third worst in the league behind Swansea and Liverpool.
- Despite their impressive start to the campaign the Baggies are now without a win in their last seven games.
- In just nine Premier League starts for the Midlands side, Romelu Lukaku (pictured right) has scored seven times and assisted one goal.
- Tottenham's Moussa Dembele has the third-best pass completion rate of all Premier League midfielders - 91.77% of his attempted passed ending successfully - but has the best in the final third - completing 88%.
- Spurs have now gone eight Premier League matches without defeat, however they have drawn half of those fixtures.
- Following his goal against Norwich Gareth Bale has now netted 10 times in a Premier League season for the first time.
- However, the Welshman has only managed one assist in the league compared with seven by the end of January 2012.
- A late James Morrison equaliser rescued a point for Clarke's men in the return fixture between these two sides at White Hart Lane, Benoit Assou-Ekotto opening the scoring.
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Top 3 Predictions
West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Tottenham
- 18.41 %
West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Tottenham
- 11.76 %
West Bromwich Albion 1-3 Tottenham
- 11.1 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Dec 26, 2013||Tottenham 1 - West Bromwich Albion 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Feb 3, 2013||West Bromwich Albion 0 - Tottenham 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Aug 25, 2012||Tottenham 1 - West Bromwich Albion 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Jan 3, 2012||Tottenham 1 - West Bromwich Albion 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 26, 2011||West Bromwich Albion 1 - Tottenham 3|
|West Bromwich Albion|
|Feb 22, 2014||West Bromwich Albion 1 - Fulham 1||EPL|
|Feb 11, 2014||West Bromwich Albion 1 - Chelsea FC 1||EPL|
|Feb 8, 2014||Crystal Palace 3 - West Bromwich Albion 1||EPL|
|Feb 2, 2014||West Bromwich Albion 1 - Liverpool 1||EPL|
|Jan 29, 2014||Aston Villa 4 - West Bromwich Albion 3||EPL|
|-||Sebastien Gabriel Tamaş||Defender|
West Brom's opponents have bundles of talent in the middle of the park, with attacking creativity flowing from Holtby, Dembele, Sigurdsson and Dempsey, as well as a defensive organiser in the shape of Scott Parker. Therefore, the 28-year-old will need to be at the top of his game to both break up dangerous counter-attacks and patient build-up play, while he must also offer late runs from midfield.
Though it was Gareth Bale that took the limelight with his fantastic goal in the mid-week fixture with Norwich, it is the right winger who has outshone the Welshman on a number of occasions for Spurs this season - improving vastly from his exciting but raw and often wasteful days. The attacker has also earned an England call-up for the upcoming friendly with Brazil and will be keen to keep impressing.
Worryingly for Steve Clarke West Brom's impressive early-season form seems to be slipping away and the Midlands club are now without a victory in seven matches - including a demoralising FA Cup exit and a heartbreaking late comeback from Reading - and with Spurs in decent form they could have enough for the win, just.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed