Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Premier League clash between Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
While the home side have gone five matches without recording maximum points, the Baggies last recorded success on November 28 when they edged out bottom-placed Sheffield United.
Since their takeover in 2017, Wolves have been on a more positive trajectory than their neighbours West Brom, who returned to the Premier League in 2020 after a two-year absence.
However, ahead of the first Black Country derby in almost nine years, both teams are going through troubled periods which could hinder their long-term development.
Despite pre-season hopes of another top-seven finish, Wolves find themselves down in 14th position having played at least a game more than many of the other teams in the division.
While Wolves are having to cope with a number of injury issues, the long-term absence of Raul Jimenez is threatening to undermine the progress which they have made over the past two seasons.
Ahead of reaching the midway point of the season, Nuno Espirito Santo will feel that a win over their rivals can act as the catalyst for an improved run of form over the coming weeks.
Allardyce has had a tough introduction to life at The Hawthorns with his opening four fixtures being against Aston Villa, Liverpool, Leeds United and Arsenal.
Nevertheless, the veteran boss had little excuse for his team’s penalty-shootout defeat at Blackpool in the FA Cup third round, with the performance suggesting that fans can expect several changes in personnel before the end of the month.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League form: WLDLDL
Wolverhampton Wanderers form (all competitions): LDLDWL
West Bromwich Albion Premier League form: LDLDLL
West Bromwich Albion form (all competitions): DLDLLD
Nuno must decide whether to any risks on Adama Traore, who missed Tuesday’s defeat against Everton with a hamstring injury.
Unless Willy Boly returns from the sidelines, Nuno may considering retaining the same side which started versus the Toffees.
However, Cutrone is pushing for his first start of the season after two substitute appearances in the space of a week.
West Brom will be without Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher, who sits out the game after collecting five yellow cards.
After the level of their most recent displays, Allardyce will consider making changes in several areas of the pitch.
Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Semedo, Coady, Saiss, Ait-Nouri; Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho; Neto, Cutrone, Silva
West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, Ivanovic, Gibbs; Phillips, Sawyers, Livermore, Diangana; Pereira; Robinson
We say: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
Having failed to gain a response out of the West Brom squad since his arrival, Allardyce will be hoping that local rivalry can trigger a strong performance from his players. With Wolves also struggling at both ends of the pitch, we are backing this game to end in a draw after a heated battle at Molineux.
Top betting tip
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