Two of the best sides in the Championship end the latest weekend of fixtures on Monday night when Preston North End take on West Bromwich Albion at Deepdale, in a game both sides will be eyeing up a victory in.
Such a result would take West Brom back to the top of the table while Preston will move back up to fourth if they can come out on top in the game. These are two really good teams so we should be in for a decent game of football.
Preston North End
There were a few murmurs about Preston North End being promotion candidates this season and they have justified that talk. They have done it largely with their home form, which is completely different to their away record. They have only dropped four points at home this term but only have eight points on their travels If they are to push for a Premier League spot, Alex Neil and his men are going to have to work out how to get better results away from Deepdale.
Luckily for them, this match is at home where they average almost three goals a game and where only Leeds United and Bristol City have left with a point this season. Preston are clearly comfortable on their own patch and will be delighted to be back there after a couple of costly defeats away from home over the last week or so. A positive performance here will get them right back on track in their promotion push.
West Bromwich Albion
Depending on what you like or who you listen to, West Brom could well be the best side in the Championship this season. There are no doubts they are one of the best teams to watch and encouragingly for them they have the best record away from home of anyone in the division. They have some really good attacking qualities, but they defend well on the road and as a result only Leeds have beaten them away from The Hawthorns this season.
The beauty of this West Brom side is that they have goals in them from all over the pitch, and in Matheus Pereira they might well have the most creative talent in the league, and in Romaine Sawyers they could just have the best player in the division. Based on what we have seen so far this term, the only thing that could deny Slaven Bilic and his men a return to the big time is the pressure they put on themselves.
Preston North End boss Alex Neil has a couple of late decisions to make on the structure of his side. That is because Ben Davies and Darnell Fisher are both doubtful for the contest having picked up knocks in midweek.
West Bromwich Albion have a full fit squad to choose from which means that the only decision Slaven Bilic will have to make is whether to start with the in form Hal Robson-Kanu up front or go with summer signing Charlie Austin.
Something has to give in this match because we have the best home side in the league taking on the best team away from home. That might equate to the two sides evening themselves out and it ending in a draw in some eyes. I’m not sure which way it will go if I am honest. If I was to pick one of them I would probably go with West Brom, but you have to respect Preston on their own patch.
That both sides are playing with confidence suggests to me that we might see more goals in this one than you might expect in a clash of this kind. Preston are missing some key defenders which won’t help them, and it might make them think that attack is the best form of defence. While West Brom have a good record this season, they are not watertight in defence. They look fantastic going forward though so I can easily see the credentials for over 2.5 goals.
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