West Brom finally managed to get a win on the board last weekend, although the fact it was against Exeter City speaks volumes. This was their first win in any competition since they beat Accrington Stanley in the League Cup back in August, with a huge 21 games separating the two victories.
The Baggies remain without a win in the Premier League since mid-August though, having drawn ten and lost ten of their 20 matches since then. Unsurprisingly this has them in a spot of bother, putting them 19th in the table and only ahead of bottom of the table Swansea on goal difference. They are four points adrift of safety, and given their current form, their chances of bridging that gap look slim at best.
Brighton certainly aren’t the best team in the Premier League, but they are faring a lot better than their Midlands hosts at the moment. They knocked Crystal Palace out of the FA Cup on Monday to make it two wins, three draws, and one defeat in their last six competitive outings.
Admittedly The Seagulls have had their fair share of difficulties this season, but they sit in a very respectable 12th position in the table with three points separating them from the bottom three. Considering they actually seem to be improving, the smart money would be on them surviving the relegation battle at this point.
Away from home they really aren’t up to scratch though. They have lost four and drawn one of their last five away days in the league, failing to score a single goal in that period. They have scored a total of five goals away from home this season, and three of those came in a single match. West Brom may not be at their best this season, but even they will feel confident keeping a Brighton side who have failed to score in eight of their 11 away games out.
However, West Brom have failed to score themselves in three of their last six at home, and haven’t won a home game since the opening day of the season. They have drawn seven of their ten matches since then, and given Brighton’s failings on the road this season, backing another stalemate looks the best option. Overall this is unlikely to get the neutrals excited, and we’re also going for a bore draw for our correct score predictions.
Alfie – West Brom
“This is a massive game for West Brom. Coming off the back of a disappointing league defeat to West Ham in the dying seconds of the game, this is where we must bounce back. We must win this game to stand any chance of staying up. There was a glimmer of hope last weekend as we beat Exeter in the FA Cup comfortably, not a win of note I know but it ended a 21 game winless run, and we must use it as a board to spring off.”
Score Prediction: 2-1 West Brom
Andrew – Brighton
“I expect this game to be very good, both teams will go for the win and rightly so. West Brom desperately need it, a lot more than Brighton do, but the Brighton boys won’t see it that way. Hughton managed to rest seven payers against Palace on Monday night in the FA Cup and we still came out with a win. This will be a huge boost for us, and to be honest I see Murray netting in this game. Our defence saw five changes so all the boys in the back four and Mat Ryan in goal have had a two-week rest, I am sure they’re up for the challenge West Brom provide.
This is the ‘make or break’ period for Brighton. If you include Bournemouth from New Year’s Day we will play seven out of the eight teams below us in the league over the next eight games. Chris will want to get off to a great start and knowing our next game is Chelsea he cannot afford two games with dropped points at this stage. We then have six games against teams below us so we need to come out of February with as many of those six still below us as possible. Losing ultimately isn’t an option at this stage, we have to win or at least draw.
The fact West Brom have not won a Premier League game in their last 20 makes this game seem like an easy win for Brighton but they have only lost three of their home games. I think Brighton will need to weather one hell of a storm in the first 20-30 minutes but after that, the home fans will get on the home teams back and the players will just lose confidence. If Brighton can make it through this level or even winning after a counter then I think we will take all three points in a 2-1 win. In their last home game, they were winning to West Ham and then ended up losing, I think that will still be in the players’ and the fans minds. Realistically I think a draw is more likely in this game.”
Score Prediction: 1-1 Draw
West Brom have won three, drawn three, and lost one of their last seven meetings with Brighton, although all but one of them took place in the 1980s.
Nacer Chadli and James Morrison remain sidelined for The Baggies, whilst Craig Dawson, Matt Phillips, Jonny Evans, and Kieran Gibbs are all doubts.
Steve Sidwell is still injured for Brighton, with Isaiah Brown also joining him on the sidelines after damaging his ACL.