West Bromwich Albion face an almighty test on Tuesday evening as they welcome Fulham to the Hawthorns, a side firmly rooted in the play-offs and just five points behind the Baggies.
Albion fans will undoubtedly be biting their nails about this one after the calamitous weekend performance against Blackburn Rovers, which finished 1-1 — but could have easily swayed Blackburn’s way by the end.
Slaven Bilic will have his work cut out selecting a side to beat the Cottagers, who are looking to seal a fifth consecutive win and leapfrog Brentford into third place.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as despite the lacklustre Blackburn game, West Brom can still boast having one of the strongest sides in the Championship; and if they stick to the game plan set out by Slaven, they could bag all three points — which could be massive in their quest for automatic promotion.
Here is how we predict Slaven Bilic will pick his squad.
In between the sticks as usual will be Sam Johnstone, who made a spectacular save at the weekend to prevent Jacob Davenport from scoring the winner for Blackburn.
Ahead of him will be Conor Townsend, in for the injured Kieran Gibbs; Ahmed Hegazi returns from suspension and could play alongside Kyle Bartley, hopefully reenacting the top-notch defending we saw in the 3-0 victory against Sheffield Wednesday; and out on the right will more than likely be the hot prospect, Dara O’Shea.
The usual midfield duo of Romaine Sawyers and Jake Livermore will likely carry out more defensive duties than normal, as Fulham are a side who aim to pile the pressure on early.
Three attacking midfielders consisting of Kamil Grosicki out on the left, Matheus Pereira on the right, and Filip Krovinovic in behind Charlie Austin who starts once more upfront.
West Brom 2-1 Fulham
Although I’m apprehensive about Tuesday’s match, I still have faith in the side and can see us getting all three points from this game. Austin will bundle in an early goal and keep us in front until half-time. In the second-half, we may hit Fulham with a counter-attack and go two ahead, before they pull back a consolation goal towards the end.
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