This weekend sees the busy festive period get into full swing as West Brom travel to Swansea looking for their first three points in the league since mid August.
It’s been a very rough ride indeed for these two so far. Both loitering in and around the drop zone for most of the season and with only two wins a piece after fifteen games, a relegation battle could well be on the cards if big changes are not made soon.
That might be a bit harder for the Swans at the moment as they continue to put their trust in Paul Clement, a man who had such a good start to his tenure back in Jan, steering the Welsh club to 15th with 26 points from 18 games. Though this season tells a different story. Swansea sit bottom now four points off safety; a few more losses will surely have Clement’s employers thinking a bit harder about the clubs future, so a win this weekend could prove vital.
West Brom have been slightly more trigger-happy than Swansea in this years managerial sacking merry-go-round. Opting for the ex-Southampton, Newcastle and Palace manger, Alan Pardew, who will be taking his men westward after securing the clubs first clean sheet since game week two.
Although this matchup might be without the head turning in form players that appear more frequently around the higher echelons of the league table, Swansea will be once again turning to the services of Premier League new face and now England international, Tammy Abraham. The striker is enjoying his new found first team status, bagging four goals and an assist, twice as many as any of West Brom’s three first team forwards.
Pardew will be hoping he can get more out of these three underperforming strikers. With Rondon possessing the same kind of physicality as players like United’s Lukaku or West Ham’s Andy Carroll, perhaps more emphasis will be put on the Venezuelan’s ability to link or hold up the play, with Rodriguez and Robson-Kanu being used for support. Whatever tactics he uses, something needs to be tweaked in this area of the pitch.
West Brom’s injuries run a lot deeper than Swansea’s with Brunt, Morrison, Chadli and Dawson, all first teamers, definitely ruled out with Phillips and Barry doubtful. Claudio Yacob filled in for Barry in last weeks match with Palace where the midfielder played a convincing role in getting a share of the spoils and so a first start of the season is looking likely.
Swansea have a couple of defenders out in Fernández and Bartley, though Clement will be fairly confident that Mawson, Olsson and Naughton, who already have five clean sheets to their names, will posses enough quality to keep the ball out of their net.
Match Prediction: Swansea 1-1 West Brom