West Brom take on Burnley as two strugglers aim for their first wins of the season
Burnley to win 1-0
As a newly promoted side, many would have predicted West Brom to be fighting for their lives near the bottom of the table. They’ve conceded plenty of goals and will struggle to survive come the end of the season.
Burnley, however, have been one of the toughest sides to play against in the league since the arrival of their current manager Sean Dyche back in 2012. Always hard to beat and with some quality going forward.
That has not been the case at all so far this season, with Dyche’s side having little in the way of their solidarity from previous campaigns.
You would expect Dyche to get a response out of his players soon enough, and it will be a surprise if they are relegated this season, but the longer this bad run of form continues the more the concern will grow.
Neither side are in great form, but are desperate for points here.
Form Guide (all comps): WLLDL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Played excellently in first half against Chelsea to earn point
Diangana has looked a handful upfront
Reasons to be fearful:
Conceded at least two goals in every game
Injury to Robson-Kanu will be a blow
Unfortunately for the Baggies, their brilliant first half display against is likely to be more of a blip than a marker for how their season will go.
Despite scoring three great goals against Chelsea, the game ended as a draw which would have dampened their confidence. They then lost their next match before the International break tamely, going down 2-0 at Southampton.
The injury to Hal Robson-Kanu will also come as a big blow to manager Slaven Bilic who has often relied on the striker coming off the bench to grab a goal.
Defence is also a worry for the Baggies, conceding at least two goals in all their matches this season. If that continues then this will represent relegation form for sure.
It’ll be a hard-fought contest against Burnley and they’ll have to dig in to get anything from it.
Star Man – Grady Diangana
With Robson-Kanu out and Robinson a doubt, the young Diangana will be relied on up front.
Form Guide (all comps): LWLLL
Reasons to be cheerful
International break gave them time to regroup
Sean Dyche usually gets a response from his players
Reasons to be fearful
Injuries are mounting up for Burnley
Early season form will be a worry
Burnley’s start to the season has been uncharacteristically poor by their standards.
Never have they been a team to score plenty of goals, but they have always been solid at the back under Sean Dyche and his side will be under pressure to start picking up points, especially this weekend when playing fellow strugglers West Brom.
Injuries are a significant concern for them. Mee, Cork and Lowton are out, while Long, Gudmundsson and Rodriguez are doubts.
Main strikers Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes have not combined as well up front as they previously have, and even the normally brilliant Nick Pope has made mistakes in goal.
The whole side will have to improve in order to start climbing the table.
Star Man – Ashley Westwood
Was Burnley’s best player, and scored, in the defeat against Newcastle before the break.
Burnley could edge this if their defence improves
Both sides are finding it hard to score, so one goal may settle it
West Brom must find Diangana in space
There is unlikely to be much that separates these two sides this weekend.
One moment of quality may decide the tie and it’s hard to say which way this could go.
The fact that West Brom will likely be missing their two top scorers in Robinson and Robson-Kanu could be the deciding factor and it’s a lot of pressure to place on the shoulders of young Diangana to lead the line.
Despite Burnley’s injury concerns, their key players in Wood, Barnes and Westwood should all play, and they may have the quality to earn Burnley all three points.
Burnley to win 1-0