After the commotion of the last few days regarding the proposed European Super League, and the dramatic U turn that happened within 48 hours, Albion are looking to continue what would be the most dramatic relegation U turn in Premier League history when they travel to Leicester City.
Whilst the Baggies go into the game off the back of two magnificent wins and a healthy fixture break to regroup and rest, they travel to a side who are looking to strengthen their claim for third position, with both Chelsea and West Ham breathing down their necks.
Leicester’s league form of late does not match the Baggies, but they have secured a place in the FA Cup final and with a few key men back in their side they pose as strong of a threat as Chelsea did just a few weeks ago.
After two straight wins there seems little reason for Allardyce to change a team that has worked so well. Despite the injury picked up by O’Shea away at Chelsea he was able to complete the full game against Southampton in another impressive display.
Of the substitutions that were made in that game, Bartley left the field in the closing stages in what looked like a precautionary step, and it is hoped that after ten days rest he should be fit to play again. Gallagher also returned to the action after his ineligibility to play against his parent club, but with Allardyce opting for a more straightforward midfield four he might find himself having to make an impact from the bench.
It would be hard not to reward Phillips and Robinson for their superb performance of late. Both seem to have adapted well to the system and are finding lots of joy when coming from either wing. Their inclusion also suits Pereira as he has seen his role shift into that free roaming playmaker that we became accustomed to in the Championship.
Like Albion, Leicester go into the game with a full squad and no new injury worries. The only exception to this is James Justin and Harvey Barnes-who needs no introduction.
Leicester did have their own troubles regarding a Covid breach which saw Maddison, Choudhury and Perez all dropped for the game against West Ham. However, the three did return to the squad for their recent FA Cup clash and will be expected to play some part against the Baggies.
They are also bolstered by the return to action of Ricardo Pereira who along with Castagne provide excellent quality on each side of the pitch. Pereira was substituted last time out but Rogers is confident he will play a role tomorrow night.
With the long term absence of Barnes, Iheanacho has stepped up well in a slight alteration of the system, and has formed a great partnership with Vardy in recent weeks earning himself the Premier League Player of the Month.
It looks likely be a toss up between Perez and Maddison for the number 10 role and Yoksulu will need to be on his game for us to have any chance of snatching a result.
Elsewhere, the evergreen Evans, Fofana and Söyüncü have formed a solid back three with one of the leagues most effective defensive midfielders, Ndidi, providing the first line of cover alongside Tielemens who always offers a creative threat going forward.
It is difficult to see what Albion should do any different. They have left themselves in a position where every game is a must win and they cannot settle for any less. In recent matches they have looked far better when they continue with attacking intent rather than resting on what they had. That being said Leicester have been solid in defence and strong in attack.
With Leicester’s wingbacks always pushing on in attack, Phillips and Robinson will have to stay aware of this threat. Maitland-Niles, as a consequence of this, might be asked to play a more conservative role which does offer the potential to free up either Phillips or Robinson to exploit the space in behind. Similarly, with Ndidi patrolling the central areas, Pereira’s best chance at creating opportunities might come in the wider areas of the pitch between the midfield and defensive lines.
Yokuslu will have to have another excellent game in trying to protect the back line from the threat of Maddison and Tielemens who will dictate play from further back.
As ever, Vardy has the potential to disrupt things and he will be hoping to add to his tally of goals against the Baggies. Meanwhile, Diagne will be looking to avenge the diabolical VAR decision that saw his goal chalked off last match, and add to his own personal tally. Although, with Leicester expecting to dominate much of the ball, his role will certainly be more passive. Albion will have to turn to his hold up play and distribution of the ball after dragging in the opposition’s central defender as a means of launching their own attack.
Score Prediction: Leicester 2-1 West Brom