8th March 2013
West Bromwich are looking for a swift return to winning ways after losing to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and maybe even enter the race for European places. Despite securing European qualification by winning the Capitol One Cup, Swansea are eager to continue climbing the Premier League standings, as witnessed by the excellent showing in the 1-0 win over Newcastle.
West Brom are clearly enjoying their best season in the Premier League history and they need just eight more points to beat their 47-point tally achieved in the last two campaigns. Having spent much of the current campaign in and around the top 6, the Baggies seem to believe they can even enter the race for European places, although a win over Swansea is a must if they are to have any chance of mounting a serious challenge. Steve Clarke’s side have been showing a lot of improvement of late, beating Liverpool and Sunderland before recording a narrow defeat to Chelsea, and with Romelu Lukaku now back to the side, they have every reason to feel confident ahead of the Swansea match. It was a defeat at Liberty Stadium that ended their four-match winning run back in November, and this could be a perfect opportunity to get revenge on the Swans. Full-back Goran Popov has served his three-match ban for spitting an opponent, but Zoltan Gera and George Thorne remain on the sidelines.
Swansea are living the dream at the moment, having just won the first major trophy in club’s 101-year history, but Michael Laudrup is not letting his players get carried away. Many people (me included) believed the Swans would find it hard to concentrate on the league game against Newcastle so soon after lifting the Capitol One Cup trophy, but they instead produced a stunning display to beat in-form Magpies and climbed to eighth place in the league standings. The Swans now face a difficult task against very motivated West Brom, especially if we know that they failed to score a single goal in last five away games. Michael Laudrup also has some selection problems at the moment, with Kemy Agustien joining Chico Flores in the infirmary, whereas long-term casualty Neil Taylor is still few weeks away from making his return. Following such a good showing against Newcastle, Laudrup is unlikely to make any changes to the starting line-up.
The mere fact the two sides are currently tied on 40 points is enough to suggest we should see a close game between two evenly matched sides and there is a good chance of the two teams cancelling each other out. I, therefore, believe draw is the most likely outcome here.
Verdict: Draw (X)
Best Odds: 9/4
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