In many ways, Preston had been the surprise package in the opening third of the Championship season. They had knocked everyone they faced for six and did so in some fashion, too – running rings around seemingly equal if not superior opposition week in, week out until we all stood up and took notice.
And it was just at this very moment, where, in some ways, they continued to be the surprised package of the season by shipping four times to Hull fu***ng City!
That followed on after a potentially even more disappointing loss (given the formline) against Derby County.
And then there’s West Brom, who go into games with reckless abandon time and time again. Given their cushion, I can’t help but feel they’ll take a slower step, particularly away from home.
With Preston sure to limit themselves in possession so as to not get caught out like they did against the Tigers, this one probably ends in a stalemate.
Selection: Preston v West Brom – Draw @ 12/5
It just feels like both of these teams have used up their ‘goals per game’ ratio over the last few weeks and both managers will demand more control over a tie that could potentially be season-defining come the end of the campaign.
Again, that’s not to say it’ll be boring, but having a Monday night game with the nation’s attention on you tends to lend itself to conservatism rather than exhibitionism. Just think of how many times you’ve stuck on the telly only to be disappointed by 22 grown men trying to put a ball into a net.
Now imagine them doing it three times. Tough, isn’t it?
Selection: Under 2.5 goals @ Evs
Bear with me. So, so far we’ve established that this game is going against the usual style that both teams like to play. This will result in frustration. We also have to take into account that refereeing decisions under lights and media focus tend to go slightly erratic.
On top of that, Monday night crowds are that bit exciteable, especially in December. All of these elements will contribute to an overly-zealous tackle going in and the respective fan-bases seeking blood.
This could lead to the referee being only too delighted to march over, pause to ensure his right hand is at the right angle for the camera, before brandishing a bright red card in flamboyant fashion to a slightly undeserving competitor.
Selection: Red card in the match @ 4/1
*Prices correct at time of publishing