On December sixth, Alan Irvine takes his West Bromwich Albion side to the KC Stadium to take on Hull City. These are two teams in very similar situations where both teams are in bad form with managers that are under pressure. Hull sit 17th and West Brom sit just above them in 16th. With both managers under pressure and both teams desperate for points this match is bound to be tense affair. Both teams will be desperate for any points they can get their hands on, and the managers will be craving a win to set their team back on track and relieve some of the pressure from them.
In a time where fixtures come thick and fast, both of these teams have been blessed with the fact that neither of them are missing too many players. Hull continue to miss their £7m summer signing, Robert Snodgrass, as he continues to recover from a dislocated knee. They will also likely be without Irish international David Meyler after he had to be subbed off through injury against Everton.
The Baggies have been hit slightly harder by the injury bug, but are still in relatively good shape. They will be without their vice captain Jonas Olsson until January through an achillies injury. Alan Irvine also lost his captain, Chris Brunt, after he went off with injury against West Ham. The team is unsure whether they will have either of James Morrison or Sebastian Pocognoli as they are both touch and go to be fit for kick the match against Hull.
These two teams have already met this season in the League Cup where West Bromwich Albion ran out 3-2 winners. The Baggies grabbed their win from the jaws of defeat by scoring in the 87th and 88th minutes to go from 2-1 down to 3-2 up. That was the Albion’s first win over the Tigers since they met in the Championship in 2008. The two teams have met nine times in the past with West Brom winning four, Hull winning three, and the teams drawing twice. Despite winning 44% of the matchups vs Hull, the Baggies have never beaten Hull in the Premier League. West Brom won the first three meetings between the sides, all of these were in the Championship, but have not been able to beat them in the top division of English football. This fixture averages just under three goals a game, so you should expect there to be goals.
Hull City: Jake Livermore
Hull have created fewer chances than any other team in the Premier League, so they need to limit the chances they allow. Jake Livermore could be vital to Hull shutting the Baggies down. The former Tottenham midfielder helps Steve Bruce’s side control the midfield with his industry and work rate. Livermore has won a tackle every 41 minutes and has won 43.5% of the tackles he has attempted this season. The Englishman has also made just over 2 interceptions a game while keeping play ticking over completing 85% of his passes. With Hull struggling for chances and goals, the 25 year old could help them solidify defensively and sneak a crucial win for Hull.
West Bromwich Albion: Saido Berahino
There has been no debate about who West Brom’s best player has been this season. Saido Berahino has been far and away the best player for the Baggies scoring seven of their 14 goals. The English striker has scored a goal every other game showing his class. That said, the 21 year old has gone six games without a goal. He will be dying to break this mini goal drought of his, and Alan Irvine will be desperate for him to score and relieve some of the pressure on him. The lack of goals from Berahino has coincided with the poor form for the team. Everyone associated with the Baggies will be hoping the Englishman can break his duck and get the team a vital three points.
Both of these teams are in poor form and will both want to avoid losing this match at all costs. This could lead to the game being a bit cautious, or the fact that both teams are desperate for three points could lead to it being a very end to end game. I think this match will come down to which teams striker will be more clinical in front of goal. While he may be in a goal drought Saido Berahinho gives West Brom an edge in this match.
Prediction: 2-1 West Brom