West Brom have improved massively under Tony Pulis, and are slowly moving themselves away from danger, but they will come up against a Swansea side who have had a good season up to now. At the weekend, both sides had to come from behind to get draws in matches both would have been hoping to win. Swansea will have an extra rest day as they played on Saturday. This could have an effect on the match, as playing two matches in a number of days will tire out the legs. West Brom have more to play for than the visitors and that could have a telling impact on Wednesday.
The home side had to come from two goals behind to gain a draw against Burnley, a match against one of their rivals for survival. They would have gone to Turf Moor with confidence and hoping for three points. However, after conceding two first half goals, a draw was a positive result and it showed the fighting spirit that Tony Pulis has created at the club since being appointed as Head Coach. The Baggies are only three points clear of the drop zone in 15th and this Wednesday’s match at home offers a real opportunity to push them closer to survival.
Swansea are coming to the Hawthorns with relatively little to play for as they appear safe from the drop and European qualification looks unlikely as the competition at the top of the table is fierce. The Swans will be hoping to finish the season off well, and they have a chance of securing their highest ever finish and highest points tally in the Premier League. Their highest finish was 9th in the 2012/13 campaign, and their highest points total in the Premier League was 47 in their first season in the top flight. Garry Monk’s side could beat both of those this campaign and that has to be their target.
In their earlier meeting this season, Swansea ran out comfortable winners at home by a scoreline of 3-0. The goals were scored that day by Nathan Dyer (2) and Wayne Routledge. In the corresponding fixture last season, Swansea took the three points again, with goals from Pablo Hernandez and Ben Davies. The away side also won at the Hawthorns in the 2012/13 season, and these wins over West Brom will give the Swans confidence going into this game.
- West Brom have only managed to win one of their last 8 games in the league. The appointment of Pulis has made them harder to beat, but they are still not winning many matches.
- Swansea have only managed to score one goal since Wilfried Bony has left the club to join Manchester City. Although Bony would have been on international duty during this time, their lack of goals is a huge concern.
The new signing from Manchester United could be key for West Brom for the rest of the season as he has the experience to make a contribution. He is a tidy player, who will work hard in the middle of the park and he has the quality to pick a pass and create goals from midfield. He hasn’t had much game time at Old Trafford for the last couple of seasons due to both illness and being out of favour, but he was once considered a key part of the United squad. The Scot has won plenty of trophies, and that winning mentality could rub off on his team mates at West Brom. He looked okay on his debut on Sunday, and will only grow as he gets more minutes under his belt. Fletcher was named captain on his debut and that responsibility highlights how important Pulis considers him to be already.
Bafetimbi Gomis has been unhappy at Swansea after playing second fiddle to Wilfried Bony for the first half of the season, and was looking for a move in Januaray before the Ivorian was sold. He now needs to step up and show that he is good enough to be the main striker at Swansea. His goal record was impressive in France, and he has played for the national side, which shows just how much ability he possesses. The forward is quick, while he is also good in the air. The Frenchman has shown throughout his career that he can finish when he gets the chance, but he has yet to show consistency in the Premier League. He has featured 20 times and only scored once for the Swans. Although 12 of those came from the bench, he needs to be doing better, especially now that Bony has left.
Jonas Olsson could return after his calf injury, and Boaz Myhill may also return after his wrist problem. Youssef Mulumbu remains on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. Saido Berahino could be back in the starting eleven after starting from the bench against Burnley. Victor Anichebe is a doubt after coming off early on Sunday. Brown Ideye could be in line for a start after scoring a crucial equaliser to get the Baggies a point against Burnley.
Marvin Emnes and Wayne Routledge will both be missing this week due to a hamstring injury and a calf injury respectively. Jefferson Montero and Nelson Oliveira are both pushing for starts after appearing as substitutes against Sunderland. Angel Rangel is likely to start from the bench, with Karl Naughton continuing at right-back.
It’s going to be a tight game with neither side looking like they can run away with matches at the moment. West Brom are becoming harder to beat, but they aren’t managing to perform well enough to get wins, while Swansea are struggling to score without Wilfried Bony. It’s likely to be a tight game. West Brom have a lot more to play for, but there are still a number of really good players in the Swansea side. I think it’s going to be a draw, but if there is going to be a winner on Wednesday, West Brom are the more likely winners for me given their situation in the league.