Swansea welcome West Brom to the Liberty Stadium in another bottom of the table clash, giving one of these sides the chance to widen the gap to the relegation places or plunge them deeper into trouble.
Both managers have endured difficult starts to the tenures at their respective clubs, with West Brom boss Pepe Mel under the most scrutiny after going seven games without a win. Although draws against Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton is no easy task, defeats against Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and most recently against Man United have left The Baggies in 17th place, just above Cardiff on goal difference, and one point ahead of Sunderland who have two games in hand.
Garry Monk couldn’t have started his managerial career in better fashion, with a comfortable 3-0 in the Welsh derby asserting him as a popular man around Swansea. Their Europa League heroics came to a cruel end with a defeat to Napoli so their attentions are now solely on the Premier League. The Swans currently sit in 14th place, four points ahead of Cardiff who are in 18th, so Monk and his team are by no means safe as of yet. Their last match saw Crystal Palace take a point away from the Liberty Stadium with a late penalty, with Chico Flores subsequently receiving a red card for the challenge leading up to it.
In the previous match between the two sides this season, Swansea left The Hawthrons with all three points after goals from Ben Davies and Pablo Hernandez gave the Welsh side a 2-0 win.
As mentioned before, Chico Flores received a red card in Swansea’s last match and therefore will be suspended for the game against West Brom. Jordi Amat is likely to deputise for the Spaniard in centre-back. This game may have come too early for Pablo Hernandez, with Michu likely to face a late fitness test before the game. Jonjo Shelvey is unavailable with a hamstring injury and will make his comeback later in the month.
The Baggies have been dealt a major blow with the news that Chris Brunt is out of action for up to six weeks after suffering a knee injury in the defeat against Man Utd. He is scheduled to be back just before the end of the season, which is one positive way of viewing the situation. Diego Lugano is also set to miss at least three weeks with medial ligament damage suffered on international duty with Uruguay. Claudio Yacob and Steven Reid face late fitness tests to determine their availability whereas Billy Jones is out until April.
- Swansea City have won just four of their last 19 Premier League home matches, drawing 7 and losing 8.
- West Brom have won none of their last 10 Premier League away matches.
- Swansea have won four of the five Premier League meetings with West Brom.
- The Baggies have not scored a first half goal in eight of their last nine league games. In the other match during this run they scored three first half goals but lost 4-3 to Aston Villa.
- If Swansea score in this game, it will be the first time they’ve scored in five successive Premier League matches since October 2011 (six games).
- 11 of Victor Anichebe’s 20 Premier League goals have come as a substitute.
Swansea: Nathan Dyer
Nathan Dyer has been struggling to find the form that he showed last year but would probably like to use this game as a chance to get his confidence back up. At times this season he has provided crucial goals for the team, notching five goals with a chance conversion rate of 23%. He has also shown that given a clear cut opportunity, he is more than capable of getting the goal, scoring all three of his clear cut chances this season. Dyer will also look to provide service for Wilfried Bony to thrive upon, something he has been decent at so far, creating a chance every 67 minutes, with a total of 21 chances created altogether and 2 assists.
West Brom: Victor Anichebe
Victor Anichebe has shown over the last few weeks that he is not going to just settle for a place on the bench, having rediscovered his scoring touch in front of goal. Oddly enough, Anichebe has netted goals against three of the top four in Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City. However, it’s against the teams in the bottom half of table that he is yet to score this season and he will want to end that drought against the Swans. Anichebe averages a shot every 44 minutes and surprisingly has more assists than Dyer with three from 20 chances created, at a rate of one every 44 minutes.
Swansea are normally quite strong at home and although they didn’t take three point against Palace, I don’t think they will make the same mistake again so it’s a home banker for me.