Another competitive weekend in the Championship concludes on Monday night when Stoke City begin life without Nathan Jones when they play host to the team who went into the set of matches on top of the table.
The Potters dismissed Jones because they have made a horrible start to the season and a number of sides down the bottom won this weekend so the hosts need the points. West Brom lost top spot but a win here will take them back to the summit.
We will finally find out whether Stoke City aren’t good enough in this league or they simply didn’t want to play for Nathan Jones over the next match or two. If they deliver a brilliant performance here, which they are perfectly entitled to do with the match a shop window for those who think they are better than Championship level, and then build on it then it will become pretty obvious that the manager was the issue.
If Stoke are going to get anything from this match and the ones moving forward, then they are going to have to cut out the individual errors which have dogged them throughout the campaign. You could argue that they have been unlucky in that nearly every mistake they have made has been punished to the full, but at the same time you just can’t make them at this level. It will be interesting to see if their attack gets freed up too.
West Bromwich Albion
For my money the best team in the division this season has been West Bromwich Albion and a win here will allow the league table to showcase that very fact. The Baggies are in decent enough form. The only time they have been beaten this term was at Elland Road and that is a fate that will be suffered by most teams at this level this season. That said though, they have drawn their last two so will be eager to win here.
There are plenty of goals in this West Brom side and I expect as the season goes on that they will get a lot tighter defensively too. They have been missing some key players in their defensive unit at times this term and as they start to return they should have the sufficient quality to succeed in that area, especially when managed by a team who knows how to set up a side defensively. That all means the Baggies are in a good position.
Peter Etebo and Tom Edwards are fitness doubts for the first match that Rory Delap and Kevin Russell will take charge of for the Potters. Ryan Shawcross remains on the sidelines for the long-term.
West Brom will be without Nathan Ferguson who starts out on a three-match suspension after he was sent off against Charlton Athletic last weekend. Conor Townsend is the man expected to replace the youngster.
I like the idea of a few goals here. Stoke City have made a number of errors defensively and with the pace and quality that West Brom have in attacking areas can force even more of them which should automatically see the goal scoring come naturally. I’ve a feeling we are going to see a reaction from the Stoke players though and fancy we might see one of their better performances of the season.
The goal line here is 2.25 which is a very low line at this level and I fancy it will be covered. The beauty of this line is if something bizarre happens that we fall just short then we will get half of our stake back on a two goal game. I’m pretty confident that we won’t need a half refund here. I expect these two sides to combine for at least three goals if not one or two more.
HALF LOSS – Back Over 2.25 goals for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with BetVictor