West Brom host Aston Villa in the West Midlands derby on Saturday in a crucial tie mid way through their season. After having garnered a solitary point in the last 5 games, the club faces the risk of dropping into the relegation zone at the end of the match day 16. Their guests for the evening, Aston Villa currently occupy the 11th position and come off a good last 5 fixtures having garnered a decent 9 points from the possible 15. With their performance in the last 5 games, they seem to have gotten over the ghosts of the consecutive losses they suffered only some time back.
Aston Villa received further injury blow when Ashlwy Westwood for sidelined for 4 weeks with a knee injury. The other notable absentees at the club include Baker (Knee), Senderos (Calf), Cole (Hamstring), Cleverly (Ankle) and Delph (Shoulder). While he might not make it to the squad on Saturday, Delph has returned to training and that is a major boost to the club. However, Captain Vlaar is expected make a comeback, having missed the previous 4 games due to a calf injury.
The sole long term absentee at the club is Olsson (Calf), who is set to be sidelined till the mid of January. The team will receive a massive boost with the return of Sessegnon, Anichebe and Brunt, as the trio are available for selection on the weekend.
Ashley Westwood has created 22 chances, followed by Cleverly who has created 15 chances. The top two for the Baggies have been Dorrans (22) and Brunt (20).
While West Brom have made 12 defensive errors so far, the tally for Villa stands at a mere 5.
Guzan, Hutton, Vlaar, Clark, Cissokho, Richardon, Grealish, Sanchez,N Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Benteke
Foster, Wisdom, Lescott, Pocognoli, McAuley, Mulumbu, Morisson, Gardner, Dorrans, Sessegnon, Anichebe
Villa’s midfield has been hit by injuries with the likes of Cleverly, Westwood and Delph have been sidelined for the tie. For West Brom to ascertain their superiority in the tie, Craig Gardner will have to be at the top of his game. The Englishman has been the driving force at The Hawthorns. He averages a passing accuracy in excess of 80% and has created 12 chances so far this season. The midfielder’s primary strength lies in breaking up oppositions moves and he has been frequent getting into tackles on the ground as well as in the air, often using harmless fouls to spoil the rhythm of the opposition. His reading of the game allows him to intercept loose as well as ordinary passes. With West Brom threatened for their place in the Premier League, the midfielder will be key to the tempo they set to the game and importantly the result.
The Colombian midfielder has been hailed for his impressive performances in a mini revival being experienced by the side by fans as well as his manager Lambert. In the absence of familiar names, he will be crucial to the fortunes of the team at The Hawthorns. He has been renowned for his “destroying” abilities and should he mange to do his bit in the middle of the park, it will free up a lot of time and space for other midfielders to work their way into the West Brom half. Like Gardner he has been frequent getting into tackles and breaking up play. The extended playing time being afforded to him by the injuries to other players has resulted in Sanchez quickly adapting to the league and improving week after week. With his confidence on a rise, we could see Sanchez pull the strings from deep positions.
Head to Head
|2013/2014||Aston Villa||4 – 3||West Brom.||Premier League|
|West Brom.||2 – 2||Aston Villa||Premier League|
|2012/2013||West Brom.||2 – 2||Aston Villa||Premier League|
|Aston Villa||1 – 1||West Brom.||Premier League|
|2011/2012||West Brom.||0 – 0||Aston Villa||Premier League|
|Aston Villa||1 – 2||West Brom.||Premier League|
Aston Villa’s season has gathered some pace over the last few weeks and they will be upbeat against a team that hasn’t been up to the scratch for some time now. However, derbies can evoke a strong response from home team. We predict a 1-1 draw at the The Hawthorns.