BPL Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs Newcastle United
The Baggies have finally strung together some results having drawn three consecutive matches. However, this still hasn’t been enough to put them entirely clear of a possible relegation battle as they sit in 15th place with 18 points, only two above the drop zone.
In facing Arsenal on Saturday it was clear that Alan Pardew was setting out with a similar tactic that he used in getting results against Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Manchester United; namely, attempting to absorb pressure for large periods, then breaking quickly on counter attacks to attempt to surprise the opposition.
What to expect
West Brom did show some signs of improvement in their 3-3 away draw to West Ham. While allowing three goals is far from ideal, they were able to come back after going down twice. They also had 22 shots from 54% possession. These are both up from their season averages of 12.8 shots per game with 1.2 goals per game and 47% average possession.
West Brom have now gone nine matches without a win; that is the worst such run by any team in the Premier League this season. So far at least, sacking Steve Clarke has not reaped any instant reward.
Victor Anichebe is a doubt after missing the last two games with a groin injury. Shane Long is a doubt too, but the forwards may struggle to displace Saido Berahino or Nicolas Anelka after their latest display. However, the Frenchman may be facing a ban after a controversial celebration at Upton Park. Keith Downing may opt for a 3-5-2 formation once again.
While Newcastle did get some decent chances this way, there weren’t many and they didn’t convert the few they got. With 11 shots they put there on target. Their possession of 47% was also rather skewed considering that Arsenal was dominating most of the possession up until they scored their goal in the 65th minute.
Newcastle have been on fantastic form this season, but dropping points 3 times in their last 6 matches has seen them drop to eighth in the table. Hatem Ben Arfa could be back in the starting XI for Newcastle after missing the loss to Arsenal. Vurnon Anita could be the one to drop out. Alan Pardew is unlikely to tinker with his team too much given the success he has overseen of late.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
Albion are in desperate need of a win but after 3 draws in a row may feel that a victory is coming. Anelka and Berahino provided goals that have been hard to come by of late last time out and they could be a threat here. Nonetheless, a win may evade them once again.
West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Newcastle United
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