Only a cruel deflection in the fifth minute of stoppage time at the end of the game prevented West Brom from coming away with all three points at Liverpool last weekend, where the danger they pose from set-pieces was very evident. Defenders Craig Dawson and Jonas Olsson were the ones to profit from dead-ball situations, with the latter also seeing an effort belatedly disallowed, so having to settle for a highly creditable draw was somewhat frustrating for Tony Pulis and his team.
This encounter does represent something of a clash of styles, but in Salomon Rondon the Baggies do have someone capable of being a match-winner. The summer signing from Zenit St. Petersburg will be keen to add to his three goals so far this season, and with Bournemouth possessing one of the top-flight’s weakest defensive records he will sense an opportunity to do so here in a game which gives his side the chance to move seven points ahead of their opponents.
The last two weekends have been special ones for Bournemouth, who have belied their lowly position in the table to produce two very disciplined displays to beat two of the Premier League’s biggest names in Chelsea and Manchester United. Set-pieces also proved to be their route to success in both matches, with Junior Stanislas leaving Red Devils goalkeeper David De Gea befuddled with his swirling delivery beofre Josh King finished off a neat training ground routine to floor his former club.
Despite that, they were also a threat from open play as the the creativity of in-form Stanislas and the pace of King frequently helped them get in behind Man Utd’s inexperienced backline, while Harry Arter has received the immense credit he deserved for a strong showing in the wake of a personal tragedy. This one represents a different and arguably more difficult test of the Cherries’ resolve, so they must not be too carried away from their recent highs.
Stephane Sessegnon should be fit enough to return for West Brom, but they are unable to call upon midfielder Claudio Yacob for personal reasons.
The visitors will have King available despite a slight hamstring problem, and are likely to field an unchanged team for the third game in a row.