West Brom, who sit second last in the table, will do well to put all celebrations aside following their FA Cup triumph at Anfield. The Baggies walked out of Anfield with a place in the 5th round after Jay Rodriguez starred in a stunning 2-3 win, marred somewhat by a dominant appearance of the new video assistant referee (VAR) system. Whilst the side didn’t get any much needed EPL points on the board, the win will go along way to improving a squad that have looked like pure relegation fodder up till now.
On Wednesday they’ll travel to title favourites Manchester City, fresh from victory over Cardiff City in the Cup. Other than the 4-3 thriller defeat to Liverpool, Man City have been the epitome of perfection up till now. With only 1 loss and 2 draws, they still stand way ahead from Man Utd with a comfortable 12 point lead. Indeed you’d probably do well to get your money on the Citizens now, either that or spend your much deserved cryptocurrency in an online Bitcoin Casino.
Few will give West Brom any chance at all, and not without reason. Whilst Pardew has seen his team improve after ending their dismal 21-match winless run, with 3 wins in their last 4 games, there are still many issues for him to mull over. Rodriguez had a great game and topped his performance with a brace, but Jonny Evans looked indecisive. A miscommunication between himself and Ben Foster contributed to the first goal; a wicked lob from Firmino within 5 minutes. Jake Livermore conceded a naive penalty when he grabbed a handful of Salah’s shirt in the box.
A 3 minute delay due to VAR followed, which may have had an impact of Firmino hitting the bar.
Despite looking good going forward, defensive frailties will be made worse by the 4 injuries picked up in the game.
Kieron Gibbs had to come off after 37 minutes and they’ll miss both his experience and pace at the back. 2 minutes later, Welsh defensive forward Hal Robson-Kanu was also forced off. Robson-Kanu does a great job upfront holding off players, allowing the defence to join in attack as the team employs 2 holding midfielders.
Pardew will likely play Rondon against Man City in the same role.
Evans and Livermore also picked up knocks during the game, both limping off at full-time. The medical staff will be working hard in the run-up to the game. Despite their mistakes, they’re both key to West Brom’s game.
Control was 🔑 for @2DaniLuiz
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 28, 2018
Fresh from their trip to the Welsh capital, City have the same sort of issues with injuries. Whilst Kompany is fit, playing the full 90 against Cardiff, Leroy Sane, had to come off at halftime after a nasty challenge by Joe Bennett during their recent win.
Bennet would later sent off for another bruising challenge on young prospect Brahim Diaz, whilst talisman Aguero himslef was also on the end of some meaty tackles.
Despite Guardiola’s insistence on not having enough money to for “22 to players”, a potential Sane injury isn’t enough to throw Man City’s romp towards the league title in doubt. The team could still make moves in January, despite losing out on Alexis Sanchez, and have considerably more pull than West Brom in that department.
It would take something quite special for West Brom to come away with anything from this match. Taking into account they may be without 4 first-team players will not make this any easier. Man City have been rampant in the league this year and you can expect them to add another 3 points when all is said and done on Wednesday. West Brom will do everything to ensure they’re not on the end of a one-way hammering. A heavy defeat could kill any positive momentum from the past 4 games.