The funny thing about the Premier League is that it can give you notions. Delusions of grandeur are the only thing that keep a side good enough and well-coached from returning to the top tier of English football.
It should be in your identity. Because unless you’ve been in the Premier League for half its total seasons, you have no divine right to be there. The sooner clubs accept what they are, the easier they’ll embrace their surroundings and re-adopt the identity that got them to England’s elite footballing competition again.
West Brom have fanciful thoughts about themselves but to be honest, The Hawthorns is a Premier League ground full of Premier League memories. That doesn’t mean there can’t be goals though, Right?
West Brom like to go 4-2-3-1 at home and play off Charlie Austin. This works to their strengths as Phillips, Pereira and Diangana can work off a focal point and time their runs in behind.
If you weren’t aware of the prolific numbers that Austin puts up in the Championship, let me inform you of the following.
In his 129 appearances in the competition, Austin has netted 68 times. And as you know well, 69 is the magic number. Or 3. It’s definitely one of them. I think.
Simply put, there’s too much attacking talent in this team for them not to score goals. This translates well into their 2.08 xG at home, a number which drops significantly when away from home.
Selection: Charlie Austin to score first @ 7/2.
There isn’t a side in the Championship who have a taller centre-half partnership than West Brom. Bartley and Semi Ajai are both six-foot-four. Matt Philips can deliver from both sides, but the most damage is done from Philiips in-swingers from the left side.
West Brom are one of a handful of sides who generally send both centre halves up for corners and free kicks and this greatly increases the value here. Bartley is slightly better in the air than Semi Ajayi, despite the latter’s goal against Fulham.
We’re not sure anyone but Sam Johnstone can be credited, or discredited, if you like, with that one.
Verdict: Kyle Bartley to score anytime @ 14/1
West Brom are slightly below their xG mark for the season, and while that generally tends to settle itself out to the mean long-term, it could be worth following short-term trends that just see them frustrated in front of goal. So let’s just try to cover the bases a little here.
Huddersfield haven’t kept a clean sheet all season and that will probably be the primary focus as the new regime under Danny Cowley gets underway. If they try to sit and frustrate West Brom early doors, I’m not too sure the home side will operate at their best.
Austin will be crowded out and may prove ineffective. If they’re reduced to pot-shots, this one could be dull.
Not to discourage you from watching football of course, but we have to factor in a 0-0 draw. Death, taxes and Sunday games in the Championship, yano.
Verdict: No goalscorer @ 9/1
* Prices correct at time of publishing