Monday Night Football may not feature any of the big sides this week, but it will be a good opportunity to assess two of the lesser talked about clubs in the Premier League. West Brom host newly promoted Burnley in a match that they will be hoping to take the three points. If they do manage to win, they will climb above their opponents into the top half of the league. It certainly won’t be a match for the neutral, but it offers a great opportunity to both sides to start the festive period with a positive result.
As is expected from a Tony Pulis side, West Brom have managed to consolidate themselves in mid table and another season without a relegation fight is on the cards. It isn’t the most exciting time to be a Baggies fan and there have been complaints about the style of play. They have recently been taken over and there should be reason for optimism, but that isn’t the case. Although a win on Monday will move them into the top half, there is a lot of work to be done before the fans feel connected to their club once more.
Burnley are currently in 9th place, after a superb start to life back in the Premier League. They invested wisely during the summer and look like they are better equipped to consolidate in the top flight this time around. They will go to West Brom with a lot of confidence and there is a real possibility that they manage to pick up the three points. If they do get the win, they could move up to 8th position and already be well on their way to securing the points total required to stay up.
The home side have taken five points from their last five matches, but they have come up against some tough opposition. Before the international break, they managed to beat the champions Leicester City, showing that they will be able to pick up wins this season. It was a surprise, but once again showed the worth of having Tony Pulis as your club’s manager. It may not be pretty, but it is certainly effective.
Sean Dyche has overseen a good start to the season at Burnley and their recent form has been very impressive. They wouldn’t have wanted the international break to come after taking seven points from their last three Premier League matches, including wins over Everton and Crystal Palace. They won’t be easy pickings for any side this season and look to have a great chance of securing survival.
It is unlikely that West Brom will make many changes from the team that beat Leicester before the international break. However the injury to Salomon Rondon will force Pulis into a change. Hal Robson-Kanu could be given the opportunity to lead the line.
I’d expect Burnley to be unchanged from the team that beat Crystal Palace at home in the last match. Andre Gray is still out of the side due to the impressive form of Sam Vokes and it is difficult to see him returning any time soon.
West Brom Burnley
Jonas Olsson is a doubt for West Brom with a hamstring strain. The Baggies are missing two key players in Nacer Chadli and Salomon Rondon, but they will be boosted by the return of James McClean who missed the previous game through suspension.
Burnley have a near fully fit squad to choose from on Monday night, with their only injury concern being Stephen Ward. The full back is battling back from a hamstring problem and should return by the end of the month.
This is an incredibly difficult match to call as the two sides are similar in quality and have managers that won’t be afraid to take it down to the trenches. I’d expect a full bloodied affair with plenty of bookings. The most likely result is a draw as neither side have the quality to take the three points. The home side will miss Chadli and Rondon dearly, while the replacements are hardly inspiring. I’m going to predict a boring goalless draw.
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