Reeling from a shock 4-1 defeat to QPR last week, West Brom entertain bottom club Leicester City on Saturday.
Tony Pulis’ men must regard this as a must win game if they want to move a step closer to ensuring survival because each of their last six encounters are tough fixtures and they include matches against the original ‘Big Four’ sides: Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Leicester meanwhile have five home games after this, though they should go into this one with the ambition of winning because they are still six points away from safety albeit they have a game less than Burnley and Hull and two less than QPR and Aston Villa.
The Foxes snatched a late 2-1 win against West Ham in their last game thanks to Andy King’s goal four minutes before the end of normal time which incidentally was their first league win in almost four months.
The home side will pay homage to club legend Jeff Astle as the team will wear a replica of the kit from the 1968 FA Cup final, in which Astle scored the winner as the Baggies won 1-0 against Everton.
Ben Foster and Callum McManaman are two injury absentees while Youssouf Mulumbu begins a three match ban after his red card against QPR for elbowing Joey Barton. Craig Dawson returns from suspension and should start in central defence.
Nigel Pearson may name an unchanged side that defeated West Ham with Matt Upson (Achilles) and Dean Hammond (calf) the two players sidelined
Head to Head
01 Nov 2014 Leicester City 0 – 1 West Brom. Premier League
26 Oct 2010 Leicester City 1 – 4 West Brom. League Cup
02 Apr 2010 West Brom. 3 – 0 Leicester City. Championship
07 Nov 2009 Leicester City 1 – 2 West Brom. Championship
15 Mar 2008 West Brom. 1 – 4 Leicester City Championship
- West Brom have won their last 4 matches against Leicester in all competitions.
- West Brom have scored 12 set piece goals this season, compared to Leicester’s 5.
- Leicester have conceded at least 2 goals in their last 6 away matches in the Premier League, winning none.
- Leicester’s 2-1 win over West Ham was their first in nine in all competitions.
- Leicester are only second behind Arsenal (20.4) in the number of interceptions per game (18.9)
West Brom: Saido Berahino
The 21 year-old is one of the emerging players of the season and it looks unlikely that he will be at the Midlands’ club much longer. He has grabbed eyeballs with his goalscoring exploits, especially in the early parts of the season accumulating 18 goals so far in all competitions. He is miles ahead of the next top scorer in the league, Brown Ideye, who has just 4 goals compared to Berahino’s 12. Having earned his first call-up to the full England squad, his future has never looked better and his manager was full of praise of the youngster.
“Saido has been at the club from 12 onwards and to have a local lad come through your system and playing in your first team is great, especially at this level,” said Pulis.
“It’s such a great league because it’s a world league and we’ve got to find ways of bringing English players through, not watering it down.”
With difficult fixtures upcoming, West Brom will rely on Berahino to give them a crucial win on Saturday.
Leicester City: Leonardo Ulloa
Having scored 5 goals in his first five Premier League games, the Argentinean forward has scored just twice in 24 league games since.
If Leicester are to mount a serious bid for their survival, they need the club record signing from Brighton and Hove Albion to start firing, and soon. The fact that no other player in the team has been able to match Ulloa’s tally from his first five games speaks volume about the lack of quality in front of goal.
The 28-year-old is a menace in the air as he has won 83 aerial duels so far this season, though a partly 12 shots on target in the Premier League this season convey the true picture that the Foxes are barely creating chances for him to get on the end of.
He is yet to score in the calendar year and ending the drought at the Hawthorns should hold him and his club in good stead for the remainder of the season.
A hard fought score draw.