Now in 2015, the term ‘6-pointer’ will start to be made regularly and expect to see it this weekend as two teams in poor form come face to face at the Hawthorns as West Brom host Hull City.
West Brom overcame a poor start in their FA Cup tie with Gateshead to win with ease as the quality between both sides was too much and the Baggies put 7 past the non-league side. That match saw a new man in the dugout as Tony Pulis took charge of West Brom last week and fans will hope he has a similar influence on their team as he did on Crystal Palace last season. His influence will need to be felt over the next month as West Brom’s poor run of form – 1 win in 10 matches – has seen them drop to 17th and 1 point above the relegation area.
After last season saw survival and an FA Cup final appearance, many sent plaudits to Hull City and Stevee Bruce. This season though, they have found it much more difficult to reach the level of performances they had in the last campaign. Two vital wins over the festive period helped stay out of the relegation area after a run of 10 matches without a win, but more points are needed on the board to stop nervously looking over their shoulder. It’ll be interesting to see how Hull strengthen in this transfer window – they are desperate for a regular goal scorer – after Bruce moved away from signing hardworking British and Irish players to continental players that needed a change in playing system to fit in.
West Brom have a near fully fit squad to choose from as Jonas Olsson could return to the squad, but Craig Gardener is the only guaranteed absentee.
While the strikers might not be earning their wage, the physios defiantly are. Hull have 6 players unavailable for this weekend and include key first teamers such as Dawson, Diame and Robertson. Others missing out are Ramirez, Rosenior and Snodgrass; while Jelavic and Chester are both doubts.
Tony Pulis will most likely look to experienced heads to help guard the side away from the threat of relegation and Lescott will be the first he will look to.
Despite a tricky season for the side, Lescott has shown signs of why he was highly regarded a few years ago and has a Premier League winner’s medal in his possession. This season, Lescott has made 101 clearances, 26 tackles, 41 interceptions, and 26 blocks – 14 of which were shots.
His performances last season saw him linked to a return to the England squad, but Huddlestone hasn’t yet reached that level this campaign. In what is likely to be a battle with both teams desperate for points, his physical presence will be important in the middle of the pitch – especially against a Tony Pulis side.
Making an average 2 tackles per match and 3.2 clearances, Huddlestone can also dictate play – an 80% pass accuracy – could mean he sits a little deeper as Hull will want to make sure they do not surrender possession cheaply.
- West Brom have drawn 9 out of their last 20 home matches in the league and have only won 4 times.
- In their 10 home Premier League matches this season, West Brom have only scored first 4 times.
- The match between both sides earlier in the season saw a 0-0 stalemate that saw only 5 shots on target.
- Hull have enjoyed their recent travels to the Hawthorns and are unbeaten in 3 matches – 2 victories and 1 draw.
- In Hull’s last 6 matches in all competitions, both teams involved have only scored once.
Two sides that are difficult to separate, this match could be determined by their manager’s decisions and a moment of brilliance by a player.
West Brom 1-1 Hull City