West Bromwich Albion may have a five point cushion and a game in hand over the relegation zone but this will be no excuse for complacency when they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the Hawthorns on Saturday.
Pepe Mel’s side took one step closer to Premier League safety with their win over Norwich last Saturday, while Spurs thrashed Sunderland 5-1 at White Hart Lane on Monday night. News has been coming out all week concerning Tim Sherwood’s future at the helm of the North London side and you can be sure that he will want to show the Tottenham board that he deserves more time in the job.
It may already be too late for Sherwood but guaranteeing another season of European football, albeit in the Europa League, will surely help his case. Mel meanwhile faces an altogether different challenge in trying to keep his team in the top tier of English football. Things are certainly in favour of West Brom in their fight to stay up, and what better way to show they deserve to be here than beating Spurs.
West Brom have several injury concerns ahead of this weekend. Chris Brunt, Claudio Yacob and James Morrison could all return, the latter having the best chance of the three as long as he passes a late fitness test. There is still no timescale for when Zoltan Gera and Graham Dorrans can return to action.
Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker could possibly return to their positions in Tottenham’s defence this weekend, but Sherwood won’t have Michael Dawson or Roberto Soldado available to him who have no possible date for a return to playing as yet.
- West Brom have won none of their last five league games at home, drawing five and losing the other.
- 11 of West Brom’s 37 league goals have been scored by substitutes this season, more than any other side.
- Victor Anichebe has been the most successful substitute in the league this season, scoring three goals and making two assists.
- Tottenham have never lost to West Brom in their last eight league meetings, winning four and drawing the rest.
- In his last three league appearances, Christian Eriksen has scored three goals and assisted in another three.
- Adebayor has scored 15 league goals this season, 10 of which have been away from home.
Amalfitano has been in fairly good form for West Brom this season. The midfielder has a 78% pass accuracy in open play, completing 465 of 599 attempted passes. It is u unsurprising to see but still a positive note for the club’s fans that Amalfitano is most active in the attacking zone of the pitch. He has attempted 561 passes in this area and has completed 337, meaning he has a pass accuracy of 60%. He has also made a significant contribution to the team, in terms of creativity. Amalfitano has created 39 chances this season of which 29 have been in open play. However, he has only managed to make two assists despite this. He has also created five clear-cut chances for his team mates. The on-loan Marseille player has scored four goals of his own, the most notable one being his chip from outside the area against Cardiff a few weeks ago. He could have an impact on the game this weekend and Spurs will have to be wary of him.
In my opinion, Eriksen has been Tottenham’s best player this season and I am sure there are many people who will agree with me. He has been accurate with 81% of his 825 passes in open play and, like Amalfitano, has been most active in the attacking zone of the pitch. The former Ajax man has tried to create a lot for Tottenham this season; he has attempted 47 dribbles and 165 crosses. However, he has only been accurate with 20 and 34 of these respectively. The Dane has created 50 chances in total for his team mates, six of which have resulted in assisted goals. This means he is creating a chance every 31 minutes on average and that does not include the six clear-cut chances he has created. Eriksen has also six goals of his own, three of which (as mentioned previously) have come in the last three league games. He is certainly an in-form player and likely to present the biggest threat West Brom will face.
West Brom can all but confirm their survival with a win but Spurs will want to stay in with a chance of confirming a place in the Europa League at least. However, I can see it being a fairly boring game and would be surprised if it finishes anything other than a 1-1 draw.