West Bromwich Albion simply must take all three points to keep their incredibly remote survival hopes alive when they host Brighton at the Hawthorns on Saturday (3pm; TV: Live on Sky Sports). Can they? Read this WBA vs BHAFC preview with betting tips and odds comparison.
The Baggies are second from bottom, three points ahead of basement dwellers Sheffield United but eight behind Fulham in 18th and a full 11 points from safety. Any realistic chance of beating the drop has probably already gone; they now need a miracle.
Even if Newcastle, the current occupants of 17th place were only to continue their current points accumulation rate of a point per match, West Brom would need to put together a top-four-like rate of around two points per match in order to overhaul them and secure safety, and that even assuming that Fulham don’t leapfrog the pair of them.
Sam Allardyce has a well-worn reputation as a survival specialist, but he has barely had an impact on the team’s fortunes since replacing Slaven Bilic in mid-December. When he took over, they were 19th in the table, with seven points from 13 matches. Under his charge, they have taken seven points from the next 12, with a worse goal difference. A two-point deficit to safety has widened considerably.
Since his arrival, West Brom actually have the worst record in the league, suggesting the old maestro is either losing his touch or may have bit off way more than he could chew on this occasion. His side come into Saturday’s match on the back of a seven-match winless streak, albeit having secured draws in three of their last five.
The third of those came in a fairly drab 0-0 draw away to Burnley last weekend. West Brom arguably created the better chances of the match despite going down to 10 men due to Semi Ajayi’s first-half dismissal, but they were unable to find the back of the net and eventually had to settle for a point.
Saturday’s visitors Brighton know a thing or two about failing to take chances. They have had consistently strong underlying numbers throughout the campaign, in line with those of a European contender, but top-line results have been much less impressive. An underperformance of as much as 15 or more goals, primarily attributable to the attack, instead sees them down in 16th, just four points ahead of the drop zone.
Monday night’s 1-2 defeat at home to Crystal Palace was Brighton’s season in a microcosm. They took 24 shots to the three of their visitors, created at least four or five clear-cut chances yet only scored once through Joel Veltman. Palace took an early lead and after Veltman’s equaliser early second half went on to force an injury time winner to consign Brighton to defeat.
Despite their troubles in converting chances, Graham Potter’s side had been in a relatively comfortable position until recently. Three wins in a four-match run between mid-January and early February, including victories over both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, seemed to have alleviated any real concerns of being dragged into a relegation battle.
Fulham’s recent improvement has somewhat changed that equation. Potter and his side could really do with getting some more points on the board here to provide a bit more margin for error ahead of the final stretch of the Premier League campaign. It is unlikely their finishing woes will continue forever, but even so, the more margin they have, the better.
In truth, they could hardly come across better opponents this weekend. The Baggies have been a poor side all season and nothing that Allardyce has done since taking over really seems to have changed that. The Seagulls have had such bad fortune this season that it feels as if things simply must come together for them at some point or another. Saturday’s match appears as likely a time as any for that to happen. So our WBA vs BHAFC betting tip for this preview is:
- Back Brighton to win to nil @ best odds of 11/5 with BetVictor.
West Brom vs Brighton Match Winner Betting Odds from Best UK Bookies