West Brom - Aston Villa Preview: Baggies search for first win in five games
Steve Clarke's side are currently struggling for form after a great start to the season but have a good opportunity to bounce back against the injury-plagued Villans
By Simon Sinclair
Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Ridgewell
Morrison, Dorrans, Thorne, Brunt
Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett
Westwood, Delph, Bannan
Weimann, Benteke, N'Zogbia
Steve Clarke’s side will be without midfielders Zoltan Gera (knee) and Youssouf Mulumbu, who is on international duty for Congo at the Africa Cup of Nations for the visit of Aston Villa.
Midfielder Claudio Yacob (hamstring) is also a doubt for the game meaning Graham Dorrans and George Thorne are likely to start in central midfield.
James Morrison is also an option for Clarke to switch into the middle allowing Jerome Thomas to play on the wing.
Shane Long (thigh) has been out for the past couple of weeks but could return to the fold to partner Romelu Lukaku in attack, with reports suggesting Peter Odemwingie wants to leave the club.
Aston Villa are without several key players for the trip to the Hawthorns including long-term absentees Richard Dunne (groin) and Gary Gardner (knee).
Darren Bent (knee), Chris Herd and Marc Albrighton (both ankle) are also expected to miss the game, while Joe Bennett (illness) is also a doubt.
In better news for Paul Lambert, skipper Ron Vlaar should return in central defence. Christian Benteke will again lead the line while Andreas Weimann and Charles N’Zogbia are set to support him in a three-pronged attack.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Romelu Lukaku (pictured right) has scored in six of his eight starts for West Brom in the Premier League. In those games he has notched seven goals.
The Baggies have not won a game since Boxing Day a run that has lasted five games in all competitions.
Steve Clarke’s side are unbeaten in their last four games against Aston Villa winning two of them.
Aston Villa have won just two of their last 19 away games in the Premier League. The last of these came in December against Liverpool.
Paul Lambert’s side have won just one of their last 12 Midlands derbies since beating the Baggies in December 2010.
The Villans have accumulated their lowest points tally at this stage of the season in their Premier League history.
- Aston Villa and West Brom to draw 1-1 is 6/1 with bet365.
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Top 3 Predictions
West Bromwich Albion 3-1 Aston Villa
- 11.11 %
West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Aston Villa
- 11.11 %
West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Aston Villa
- 9.63 %
|Premier League (EPL)||29 Jan 2014||Aston Villa 4 - West Bromwich Albion 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||25 Nov 2013||West Bromwich Albion 2 - Aston Villa 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||19 Jan 2013||West Bromwich Albion 2 - Aston Villa 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||30 Sep 2012||Aston Villa 1 - West Bromwich Albion 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||28 Apr 2012||West Bromwich Albion 0 - Aston Villa 0|
|West Bromwich Albion|
|12 Apr 2014||West Bromwich Albion 3 - Tottenham 3||EPL|
|5 Apr 2014||Norwich City 0 - West Bromwich Albion 1||EPL|
|29 Mar 2014||West Bromwich Albion 3 - Cardiff City 3||EPL|
|22 Mar 2014||Hull City 2 - West Bromwich Albion 0||EPL|
|15 Mar 2014||Swansea City 1 - West Bromwich Albion 2||EPL|
|-||Sebastien Gabriel Tamaş||Defender|
|21||Jordan Nathaniel Bowery||Striker|
The on-loan striker is in red hot form and has scored four goals in his last five Premier League games. His finishing has been outstanding and he has shown predatory instincts in and around the box. The 19-year-old’s physical presence has given many a defender a tough time this season so the Villa defence will have to be at their best to stop him having an effect on the game. If they do this they will go a long way towards getting a positive result from their trip to the Hawthorns.
The 22-year-old has the ability to take over a game and Villa will need him to be at his best when they take on the Baggies. His hold-up play will need to be exemplary as he may find himself isolated at times especially with a young midfield behind him. He will need to do his utmost to bring those players into the game. Fortunately for Benteke he has that ability in abundance and has shown when he gets a chance in front of goal, he can take it, which will be key as opportunities may be few and far between on Saturday.
West Brom have been inconsistent of late after their great start to the season but expect them to take full advantage of an injury-ridden Aston Villa side, who are also low on confidence. The Baggies should not really have to get out of first gear as Paul Lambert’s side have been dreadful of late and expect that to continue at the Hawthorns.