Slaven Bilic was the first manager to lose his job in the Premier League this 2020-21 season and was replaced by former England manager, Sam Allardyce. West Bromwich Albion’s hierarchy came under scrutiny post this move as Bilic’s West Brom won a hard-earned point at the Etihad against Manchester City before getting the sack.
Sam Allardyce is known as a Premier League specialist and has stabilised many ships previously in the league. His team has never gotten relegated to the Championship but this task with the Baggies might just be the most difficult job he has been given in his career. Next up for them is Leeds United at Hawthorns. Let’s get deeper in the game.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION
‘Big Sam’ got a surprise point at Anfield against the champions of England, Liverpool. His team frustrated the holders and got an important point on the road. His first game in charge against Aston Villa didn’t go according to plan but his imprints on the team were evident in their second game.
His team isn’t fussed about keeping the ball and playing football at all times but is more concerned about keeping clean sheets and making his team difficult to beat. Against Liverpool, the Baggies had just 18% possession in the first half and played with almost a 6-4-0 formation. Yet, they stayed alive in the game and made their set-piece count and came back with a crucial point at Anfield where the best in the league struggled.
Sam Allardyce will look to continue to do more of the same against Leeds and will look to frustrate the Whites. His main goal will be to reinforce the squad in the January transfer window and hopefully earn them yet another season in the top-flight of English football.
PREDICTED XI (4-4-2): Sam Johnstone (GK); Darnell Furlong, Kieran Gibbs, Semi Ajayi, Dara O’Shea; Callum Robinson, Matt Phillips (C), Grady Diangana, Romaine Sawyers; Connor Gallagher, Karlan Grant
The Whites got a resounding victory over Burnley where they kept their fifth clean sheet of the season and got the all-important three points. After shipping six goals against arch-rivals Manchester United, Leeds needed a resolute performance at Elland Road and got one against Burnley.
Sunday’s game wasn’t a classic but an effective one and Marcelo Bielsa will be happy to see his team get three points in a different manner. The match against West Brom won’t be an easy one, they will have to break the low block of the opponent and find a way of not conceding a goal from set-pieces or in transition.
Patrick Bamford scored from the spot and with that, he now has most goals by a player for a promoted club at this stage of the season since Kevin Phillips’ 13 goals for Sunderland in the 1999-00 season.
The team will continue to have defensive issues because club captain Liam Cooper and summer signing Diego Llorente will be unavailable for this match.
PREDICTED XI (4-1-4-1): Illan Meslier (GK); Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling (C), Pascal Struijk, Ezgjan Alioski; Kalvin Phillips; Mateusz Klich, Jack Harrison, Rodrigo Moreno, Raphinha; Patrick Bamford
WHERE TO WATCH WEST BROM vs LEEDS UNITED
With the official Premier League broadcast and streaming rights in India being with the Star Sports Network till 2022, select matches will be telecasted live on Star Sports SD and HD TV channels. Online live streaming of the EPL in India for all fixtures can be found on Disney+ Hotstar – Star’s own OTT platform. The match kicks off at 11:30 PM on December 29.
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