Premier league new boys Swansea city welcome Roy Hodgson’s West Brom to The Liberty stadium on Saturday afternoon in what could be, even at this early stage of the season, considered a six-pointer. (KO, 3pm)
It’s been a slow start for the Welsh boys in their debut season in the top flight. One loss, two draws, no wins and more worryingly no goals scored and, although they shipped four against Manchester City in the opening day, they’ve improved since keeping two clean sheets at home before losing to Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates last week.
They may have had the best home form of any Championship side last season but not scoring any goals in both home fixtures so far, does not bode well for a team with Premier League survival paramount this season.
Brendan Rogers will return to the dug-out after missing the defeat at Arsenal due to the death of his father and the former Reading manager will once again be without long-term casualties Alan Tate and Ferrie Bodde will watch on from the stands with captain Garry Monk also out due to a foot injury.
West Brom finally got off the mark last week with a comprehensive 1-0 victory away at Premier League newcomers Norwich City, the first of three away matches over the coming weeks. Opening League defeats from Manchester United and Chelsea, despite The Baggies taking the lead in both games and Shane Long scoring in his debut against the latter and then against Chelsea, has frustrated Hodgson and the fans.
Long has been in good goal scoring form since his transfer from Reading and his partnership with Peter Odemwingie must succeed if they are to avoid the drop. Last week they got it right, Odemwingie scored the only goal of the game and despite the Nigerian international missing a penalty, held on to overcome The Canaries to put three points on the board.
In injury news, West Brom will be without Zoltan Gera as the Hungarian midfielder continues his recovery from an off-season ankle operation while Chris Brunt is also in doubt after sustaining a knock in training.
A win for West Brom could see them jump to mid-table pending other results and taking into account Swansea’s lack-lustre performances in front of goal it’s doubtful West Brom’s defence will be troubled. Even though the Swans have kept two clean sheets from two at home, an away win for The Baggies is there for the taking.
Verdict: West Brom