This weekend on the South Coast, West Brom travel to Dean Court to take on AFC Bournemouth. It won’t be the most anticipated fixture this weekend, but it is an interesting one that features two sides expected to be involved in the relegation battle. The home side will be looking at this as a great opportunity to record their first win of the season. West Brom had a disappointing end to the transfer window and the pressure is building on Tony Pulis. The mood around West Brom is a negative one and a positive result this weekend is required.
The home side have yet to pick up a win this season, but they have faced two of last season’s top seven. Against Crystal Palace, they conceded a late goal to drop two points, which was disappointing for Eddie Howe, after his side defended admirably for the majority of the match. Last season, their defence made many individual errors that cost the side and that looks to be a trend that will continue into the new season.
Despite the negative atmosphere around the club, West Brom have had a good start to the new season. They have picked up four points from their opening three matches. The side’s defence looks well organised and they will be difficult to beat once again this season, as is expected from a Tony Pulis side. Nacer Chadli joined towards the end of the transfer window and he will provide some much needed flair in the final third.
Bournemouth have entered the season with a stable side and there are unlikely to be many changes from the starting eleven against Crystal Palace. Jack Wilshere has since joined and is almost certainly going to come into the team, with Andrew Surman the obvious candidate to miss out. Callum Wilson will continue leading the line, but he must find his scoring boots soon or face being dropped.
Nacer Chadli is in line to make his debut against Bournemouth, replacing James McClean on the left wing. The Belgian will provide more quality in the final third, which has been lacking in the first three fixtures. Pulis could be tempted to bring in Saido Berahino to start with two strikers, but it is more likely that he continues with Salomon Rondon as a lone forward. Sam Field impressed against Middlesbrough and should retain his place.
AFC Bournemouth West Bromwich Albion
Bournemouth don’t have any injury concerns heading into the weekend and have a fully fit squad to choose from. Jack Wilshere is available to make his debut.
West Brom only have one player missing and that is Chris Brunt, who has been suffering with an ACL injury that has kept him out for the majority of 2016. He is expected to return in October.
This is a tight match to call, with both sides desperate for the three points for different reasons. The positivity around Bournemouth after the signing of Jack Wilshere could provide the boost that the club need to start their season. West Brom don’t have a great record away from home under Pulis and for that reason, I expect Bournemouth to record their first win this weekend.