On September 19th, West Bromwich Albion travel four miles east to Villa Park to take on rivals Aston Villa. The two clubs could not be tighter as they go into the latest edition of the West Midlands derby. Villa sit in 15th with only four points from their first five matches. Albion sit one point and one place ahead with five points from their first five matches. After blowing a 2-0 lead against fellow Midlands side Leicester City last week, Tim Sherwood will be desperate for a win to make up for last weeks disappointment.
West Brom go into this match with two noticeable absentees. Goalkeeper Ben Foster is still out after tearing his ACL near the end of last season, while Jonny Evans is dealing with a knock that could see him miss the match.
Villa are going in with quite a few injury concerns. This game comes a week too early for Gary Gardner as he is not due back until next week with his leg injury. Jores Okore will also miss out with his long term knee injury. Idrissa Gueye is a likely to miss out with a hamstring injury, while Adama Traore and Jose Crespo will be looking at late fitness tests to determine whether they can play. There is also a slight concern over Carles Gil after he picked up a knock, but he looks like he’ll be fit.
- West Brom have only won one of their last eight matches against Villa.
- Villa have the fifth worst defence in the league, conceding eight goals in five games.
- The Baggies are yet to concede a goal away from home this season after keeping clean sheets away to Stoke and Watford.
- There have been multiple goals in each of the last seven encounters between the two sides.
- The Baggies have not won at Villa Park since April 2011.
Aston Villa: Scott Sinclair
After the loss of Benteke, many people were worried whether or not Villa would be able to score goals this season. So far, that hasn’t been too big of a problem with six goals from five games in the league. Scott Sinclair has provided them a goal threat from out wide that they often lacked last season. The Englishman has scored two goals in four league matches, and scored a hat-trick in the League Cup. With Tony Pulis at the helm, the Baggies are likely to be very solid defensively, so Villa will need their goal threats to play well and take the few chances they get.
West Bromwich Albion: Salomon Rondon
The Baggies have had trouble scoring this season with only three goals from five games. They’ll need record signing Salomon Rondon to take his chances if they are to get three points from this one. The Venezuelan is already off the mark in the Premier League with their only goal in the 1-0 win over Stoke, and they’ll need him to keep firing if they are to be successful.
This one seems destined for a draw. Neither team can really afford to lose a derby after their poor starts to the season. I see Villa getting exposed on the counter attack early then pulling one back in the second half only to end in a draw.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw