A resurgent AFC Bournemouth arrive at The Hawthorns on Saturday bidding to continue the upturn in fortunes that has delivered a timely boost to the club’s Premier League survival hopes.
An eight-point haul from the past four games has doubled the side’s tally and lifted them out of the relegation places ahead of the clash with West Brom.
But that scarcely tells the tale of a remarkable last month for Eddie Howe’s men. Having battled from 2-0 and then 3-2 down at home against Everton, Junior Stanislas’ 98th-minute leveller earned a 3-3 draw before Bournemouth remarkably recorded back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Manchester United.
A different challenge now awaits West Brom, who themselves are unbeaten in their last four league outings.
Tony Pulis’ hosts have drawn three in a row since beating Arsenal 2-1 on November 21, though West Brom were only denied a win at Anfield last Sunday by an injury-time equaliser from Liverpool substitute Divock Origi.
However, that result should hardly have come as a surprise, considering West Brom have actually found it easier playing on the road this season. The West Midlands side have picked up 12 points on their travels, compared to a tally of eight in front of their own fans.
Pulis will hope his team can secure just a third home win of the campaign against Bournemouth, who are one place and four points behind West Brom in 14th.
Joshua King scored the winner in the 2-1 home triumph against United last Saturday, although his joy at scoring against his former club was cut short by a hamstring injury.
The Norway international had to be taken off after 65 minutes, but assistant manager Jason Tindall is confident King will be fit to feature at West Brom.
“Joshua has trained this week and come through with no problems,” Tindall told the Daily Echo.
“We are expecting him to be fit and continue his good form.”
The visitors could also welcome back winger Marc Pugh, but Lee Tomlin is unlikely to be risked ahead of a busy run of fixtures in the coming weeks.
West Brom, meanwhile, will wait to see if Stephane Sessegnon is fit to play. The Benin international sat out the game against Liverpool due to a hamstring injury.
Key Opta stats:
– West Brom have won just three of their last 12 Barclays Premier League home matches (W3 D3 L6).
– Bournemouth have never won away at West Brom in six visits in all competitions (W0 D2 L4).
– Bournemouth have averaged a distance of 119.1 km per game in the Premier League this season; averaging 3.7km further than any other team per game.
– Tony Pulis’ next defeat will be his 100th in the Premier League – only 14 managers have reached this tally in the competition.
– Callum Wilson is still Bournemouth’s top goal-scorer in the Premier League this season (five goals) even though he has not featured due to injury since September 26.