by Tom Allen
Still an outside chance West Brom could finish the Premier League season in
seventh place and they should be backed to beat Aston Villa on Saturday.
It's been an inconsistent campaign overall for Roy Hodgson's new side but the
Baggies are well clear of the drop zone and a win over the near neighbours would
keep them very much in touch with the sides immediately above them.
Just six points separates Everton in seventh and Stoke in fourteenth and,
with a decent run-in, West Brom should be targeting a place inside the top half,
at least, come the end of term.
Having gained some terrific results on the road, including most recently at
Anfield, when triumphing 1-0, the poor form of Hodgson's team on home soil has
been a mystery but they could not have hand-picked better opponents and it is
now three wins in their previous four matches, including twice in front of their
It's three clean sheets in those victories too for the Hawthorns outfit and
one goal could well be enough to get the better of a toothless Aston Villa side.
Villa, now very much in the relegation battle after just one win in 13 top
flight matches, will be really up against it if they fail to get anything from
the upcoming fixture and the pressure is firmly on manager Alex McLeish.
Just three points above the trapdoor, Tottenham are next for the Midlands
giants before a final day trip to Carrow Road where Norwich have proven very
tough to beat on their return to the Premier League.
Villa rarely fail to excite and with Daren Bent sideline a goal threat is
They were the better team in the opening 45 minutes against Bolton in midweek
before succumbing 2-1 to the visitors after the break and confidence is at an
all-time low at Villa Park.
At odds against, West Brom must be backed to inflict yet more misery on their
rivals and it is the standout wager this weekend at the prices despite
significantly more high profile matches taking place elsewhere.
3pts Back West Brom (vs. Aston Villa) @ 2.20 (Stan James)