Pepe Mel’s West Brom have the chance to close the gap between them and Swansea to a single point when they head to south Wales Saturday afternoon in a huge game for both clubs as they battle to avoid relegation from the top division. Since taking over at The Hawthorns in January, the Spanish manager has yet to taste victory, with reports suggesting recently he is facing the sack if results don’t improve, despite being in charge for less than two months.
With that in mind, he’ll know defeat this weekend will see him pushed further towards the exit door with West Brom perilously close to the drop zone. They currently sit just outside the bottom three thanks to a superior goal difference to Cardiff’s, although they have played a game less than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. However, with Sunderland – who currently occupy 19th spot – having two games in hand on them, the Midlands club simply must bring three points back to England with them.
Garry Monk will be equally eager to claim victory, though, having won just one of his first four league games in charge of the Swans. On the flip side, he has only tasted defeat once domestically so far – a highly-respectable 4-3 loss at Anfield – and with the Welsh side now out of the Europa League following their second- leg defeat to Napoli, they can focus all their efforts on securing a third consecutive season in the top tier of English football.
They’ve not been as strong at home in their second season in the Premier League as they were the first, but with West Brom struggling for goals since Romelu Lukaku’s loan spell ended last season and Swansea only failing to find the net at home once all year, Monk will be quietly confident of moving the home side above the 30-point mark and possibly into the top-half of the table, depending on results elsewhere on Saturday.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
West Brom 0-2 Swansea (Davies, Hernandez), Premier League
West Brom (Lukaku, De Guzman OG) 2-1 Swansea (Moore), Premier League
Swansea (Michu, Routledge ) 3-1 West Brom (Lukaku), Premier League
Swansea have won only four of their last 19 in Wales, but have won four out of five Premier League fixtures against the Baggies
West Brom have failed to win any of their last 10 away league games
Swansea have only failed to score once at home this season (v West Ham)
The visitors have failed to find the net in the first half of eight of their last nine league games
Swansea have benefited from seven own goals this season, more than any other club
Swansea to win: 1.95
West Brom to win: 3.8
TV: Highlights on BBC One, 10:30pm Saturday.