Swansea City will be looking for their third consecutive Premier League victory when they head to the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion, who are just three points above them in the current standings.
Head Coach Tony Pulis blamed a busy schedule for West Brom’s indifferent performance at home to lowly Aston Villa in their last match, which came just a week after they were well beaten 3-0 at Southampton, so he will be hoping that any fatigue will have subsided as they take on one of their direct rivals in the table here. That said, the defence held firm to register a clean sheet and ensure that they did not slip to defeat, which would have led to some concern.
At present the seven point gap between them and the relegation zone is a comfortable one, but with a trip to third-from-bottom Newcastle United coming next, this period could define the rest of the Baggies’ season. The key battle in this one will be in the midfield, where the industry and strength of Darren Fletcher and Claudio Yacob comes up against the more measured approach of Leon Britton and Ki Sung-Yueng. If it turns into a physical battle, the home side should come out on top.
In his first game in charge, Francesco Guidolin guided Swansea City to an impressive first ever league victory over Everton, where they punished defensive mistakes and held firm amid constant second half pressure to emerge with three more vital points in the battle to steer themselves clear of the bottom three. The Italian decided to continue the recent ploy of playing without a recognised striker and that got the best out of Andre Ayew and Wayne Routledge, who put a tremendous shift in.
The back four were immense and ensured that goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was afforded a huge level of protection as Everton rarely tested him despite the amount of possession and territory they had after the break. This is likely to be a different type of game as the Welsh club will look to use the mobility of their front three to try and get in behind the West Brom defence, but win this and they will be looking up the table rather than over their shoulders.
Fletcher should shake off a knee problem in time to play for West Brom, who could give debuts to new loan signings Alex Pritchard and Sandro. A dead leg could rule out Saido Berahino.
The visitors are expected to give a debut to striker Alberto Paloschi, who was signed recently from Chievo.
Last Meeting: Swansea served up one of their weakest performances of last season as goals from Brown Ideye and Saido Berahino gave the hosts a comfortable victory. The two strikers combined well for both as Berahino set up Ideye to fire in low on the turn with an hour played, before it was rolls reversed as Ideye’s cutback was tucked away by Berahino to ease Albion’s relegation fears.