Another round of matches in the Sky Bet Championship get underway on Friday night when two sides who were expected to challenge for promotion this term meet at The Hawthorns when West Bromwich Albion host Burnley.
Both these sides have lost just once this season but it is the visitors who have made much the better beginning to their Championship campaign. With the window now shut this match could tell us a lot about their promotion credentials.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football channels with the build-up to the game starting at 7.30pm with the match kicking off at 8pm.
This has been a frustrating spell in the Championship for West Brom. They grossly underachieved last season and despite assembling a decent looking squad they have only been able to win one of their seven matches in the current campaign. Admittedly they have only lost once but draws don’t get you anywhere in this league and they have five of them in seven matches. Just one clean sheet in those seven matches will be the immediate concern for Steve Bruce and his coaching staff.
If West Brom can find the formula defensively then they have goals in them. Only three sides have scored more than them this season, although five of the 11 they have scored came in their sole win which was against Hull. This looks a better squad for the Baggies but the fact Bruce was trying to be fairly active in the transfer market on deadline day would suggest that he isn’t completely happy with the options he has.
They flirted with relegation for a while and finally Burnley dropped into the Championship ahead of this campaign and their only intention has to be to get promoted at the first opportunity. They have recruited Vincent Kompany to do that but he is having to completely change the style of the Clarets while attempting to pick up the results which are needed to keep them at the forefront of the promotion chase.
You would have to say he has done that pretty well with Burnley only losing one match this season, a defeat which would have been a draw had a late hit of the crossbar against Watford been a few inches lower. Burnley have won three and drawn three of the other six matches and over the last week or so they have shown signs that they might be getting to grips with the task at hand. I would imagine they will only continue to improve as the amount of players they brought in settle in.
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West Brom will be without defender Semi Ajayi for this match so Steve Bruce will be forced into a bit of a reshuffle. Darnell Furlong is expected to be the one to return. Daryl Dike remains out with a thigh injury.
Vincent Kompany will check on the fitness of Aro Muric who left the win against Millwall early. Bailey Peacock-Farrell may have to debutise for him. The Clarets will have Ian Maatsen available after he served his suspension but Scott Twine and Kevin Long are out.
I think it is fair to say that both of these teams are looking better going forward than they are defensively. I’m not criticising them for that. I think the Championship is a league where if you are going to prosper you have to score goals so I’m not surprised that both teams are focusing on the top end of the pitch, even though the usual mantra, particularly for two defenders, would be to lock up at the back and then look further forward.
I think we can take advantage of that and exploit that though with a bet on both teams to find the back of the net. That has happened in all bar one West Brom match this season and in four of the seven that Burnley have played too. I think this is a match that both sides will believe they can get some joy when they go onto the front foot and with one or two personnel issues within the back lines of these two the 4/5 on both teams to score looks good to me.
Back Both teams to score for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with William Hill
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