Premier League 17/18 Week 33: West Bromwich Albion vs Swansea City – Lineups, Preview and Prediction
The Swans fly into the Midlands looking for safety as their hosts attempt to save face under new management
15:00 BST, Saturday 7th April, The Hawthorns (Birmingham, England)
With Alan Pardew having finally parted company with the Baggies, caretaker manager Darren Moore will look to usher in the new era for West Brom with a rare victory. A run of 8 successive league defeats and a further loss in the FA Cup has left spirits broken in Birmingham with a team who’ve only managed 1 league win since mid-August. There may not be time to save the club from an inevitable drop to the Championship, however, the Baggies will be keen to salvage pride during the final throes of their season.
There is still plenty of time for Swansea to dig their way out of the relegation fight, however, sitting only 3 points above the danger-zone they still have plenty left to do. Having averaged 1.5 points per game from the last six fixtures, the Swans have settled into a relatively good position following Carlos Carvalhal’s joyous honeymoon period earlier this year. Without a win in 13 of their last 14 league games, nothing should be taken for granted against the league’s bottom club who will look for some new-manager bounce.
Last Time Out
West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Burnley (Premier League)
What proved to be Alan Pardew’s final match in charge at the Hawthorns ended in yet another defeat after they came off second-best to a well-organised Burnley side. The Clarets had dominated the early stages of the match and were deservedly in the lead after 20 minutes. While the Baggies slowly felt their way into the game, they left the pitch to a chorus of boos at half-time from an underwhelmed home support.
There was much more fight in their display after the interval, however, they found it hard to break down a stubborn side put out by Sean Dyche. Matt Phillips made some improvement to the team when he was introduced during the break but the Baggies fell further behind in the 73rd minute. This caused a more vigorous response from the hosts who salvaged pride through Salomón Rondón’s 83rd-minute strike, however, it was all they could muster as they ran out of time still trailing by a goal.
Manchester United 2-0 Swansea City (Premier League)
Manchester United ruthlessly picked Swansea apart during the opening 45 minutes to leave Swansea feeling lucky to be only two goals behind at the interval.
Two half-time changes from Carvalhal saw the introduction of Tom Carroll and Tammy Abraham bring a positive change to the flow of the game but it was the home side who still enjoyed most of the possession from the game. Finishing the game with only 2 shots on target (3 taken in total), Abraham had taken both and can consider himself slightly unlucky to see David de Gea equal to his efforts. The Swans showed a fighting characteristic during the second half but could not overcome the disadvantage they faced from a one-sided opening spell.
West Bromwich Albion Lineup
Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) Gareth Barry (knock) Sam Field (knock) and James Morrison (Achilles), although, Nacer Chadli is nearing a return from his thigh injury for the Baggies.
Swansea City Lineup
Angel Rangel (groin) Leroy Fer (Achilles) Renato Sanches (hamstring) Wilfried Bony (ankle) and Jordan Ayew (suspended) are all unavailable for the Swans who could field a similar lineup to last week’s starting eleven, although Tom Carroll will battle Andy King for the chance to play a central midfield role.
Key Battle: Salomón Rondón (West Brom) vs André Ayew (Swansea)
The old cliché that goals win games could be more aptly written as a goal will win this game considering both team’s poor showing in attack this season.
Rondón’s goal last weekend was his second in three games to put him on 6 Premier League goals this term and is sure to remain in Moore’s first team as the main West Brom threat.
Swansea’s top scorer this season is still suspended after the club decided not to appeal his red card. With their second-highest scorer, Tammy Abraham, badly lacking form, it could once again be Ayew’s brother, André, who replaces him as the main point of their attack. With 3 goals scored from midfield for West Ham earlier this season, he could repay the £18m outlay which made him Swansea’s record signing.
In his post-match interviews following last weekend’s defeat, Pardew blasted some of his players for not being able to deal with the relegation battle they had found themselves in. It’s become a regular occurrence for a manager to vent this type of frustration during their final interviews with a club and this proved the case here too.
With only a single victory from his 18 league games in charge of the Baggies, the history books will show that it wasn’t just the players unable to deal with their situation at the foot of the table. With his assistant manager, John Carver, caught verbally fighting Baggies fans over recent weeks, the pressure has had a telling effect on the West Brom management team who dealt with the situation angrily. With the Baggies and Pardew eventually parting company mutually, chances are that Pardew also could not secure a financial deal on his way towards the West Brom exit.
100 Days later…
Saturday’s game against West Brom marks the 100th day since Carvalhal took charge of the South Wales Swans. In this time he has seen them rise clear of relegation and restore a lot of pride into a team who can now add the scalps of Arsenal and Liverpool to their first FA Cup quarter-final appearance in 54 years.
15th position in the table may be slightly skewed by the fact they’re only 1 win above the relegation zone, however, it’s a much healthier position than anyone believed they would be in 100 days ago
Prediction: West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Swansea City
With both teams having scored the joint-lowest number of goals (25) in the league this year, there doesn’t promise to be a lot of goals hidden in this fixture. West Brom could enjoy some much-heralded new-manager bounce but it may not prove enough to secure a win against a side who will believe they can stay safe this season.