West Brom host Brighton on Saturday, one of the teams they need to reel in if they want their hopes of survival to become a reality. But will the seagulls fall for the bait?
Albion go into the game having had a full week’s break, with plenty of time to ponder their trip to Burnley in which they should have secured all three points. The Seagulls, who played on Monday, were left even more disappointed. After a dominant game that saw them have 75% possession and 25 attempts, they were on the end of a Benteke inspired snatch-and-grab.
That was however only their first loss in five games and their steady style of play has kept them above the drop zone all season. Allardyce will be hoping to emulate Palace’s victory in what will be a game played out in a very similar manner. Albion must take their chances.
Albion’s team situation remains relatively unchanged. The only expected notable absence for this weekend will be Semi Ajayi, who will be serving his one match ban following his red card at Turf Moor. O’Shea slotted in well for the second half that he played, and he will almost certainly keep his position.
With Gibbs sidelined again, Townsend will rightfully retain his place, whilst Furlong takes to the other side. Although he might opt for Peltier for more defensive cover at the back, as Brighton will be looking to dominate the ball.
Yokuslu will continue to do his excellent role anchoring the midfield behind what will be Gallagher and Maitland-Niles once again. Allardyce revealed that Snodgrass is not fit for this weekend, but he should return after that.
The return of Diangana to the bench last weekend leaves him with plenty of options when looking for width in the attack, but it will be unlikely that he gets thrown straight back in. He may give Phillips another chance after his early withdrawal last time out thanks to Ajayi’s red card.
Brighton have their own set of injury concerns that have been hampering their progress in recent weeks.
They will be without Solly March for the rest of the season and Adam Webster is also sidelined until at least the international break.
Tariq Lamptey, who had such a good start to the season has been out for a while but has been back in training recently. Potter confirmed he was not fit to start but he could feature in the squad. Having said that, the versatile Veltman, who scored against Palace has slotted in well during his absence.
They remain relatively fluid going forward with Bissouma, one of their standout performers, often dominating the midfield battles. Maupay and Trossard remain threats in attack with Mac Allister and Lallana frequenlty interchanged in an attacking midfield role.
The Game Plan
It will be much the same in terms of how West Brom approach the game. For them it is another must win, whilst for Brighton they just need to keep clocking up the points.
As they did against Crystal Palace, and like they have done all season, they will want to dominate the ball and play patient football. West Brom must not be drawn in early doors otherwise they will find themselves carved open by a side, that on their day, play exceptional football.
They will take hope from Palace’s result and the events away at Burnley. Diagne had plenty of chances to win the game and he will certainly get more on the counter this weekend- it will be vital that he takes them. The match also sets up nicely for some good aerial battles with both Lewis Dunk and Dan Burn prominent from set pieces this season.
Score Prediction: West Brom 1-2 Brighton