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    West Brom v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

    By Tom Regan

    In form Tottenham Hotspur travel to the Hawthorns this Saturday afternoon for a Premier League showdown with Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion.
    For a while, the Baggies looked like they could become embroiled in a relegation scrap, but their fortunes have improved in recent weeks.

    They secured a point at West Ham on Saturday with a hard fought 1-1, and that sees them placed in 13th with 18 points.
    Typical of Pulis, his side has defended with a no nonsense approach which has been effective, typified by the outstanding Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley in central defence. The hard tackling Claudio Yacob has protected the back four and made them a hard outfit to break down, reflected by Boaz Myhill’s record of six clean sheets to date.

    Albion’s main struggle has been in attack where they have scored just 13 goals. Two of their last three goals have been own goals and no player has found the net on more than three occasions. If they have aspirations of climbing up the table further, the likes of Saido Berahino and Salomon Rondon must show more hunger in the attacking third.
    Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been in superb form, and a hard fought 0-0 draw against Chelsea saw them extend their unbeaten run to 13 games. They have secured victory in three of their last five, scoring 13 and conceding just 4. The north London outfit are up to 5th in the Premier League, and if they can maintain their current form, they will deservedly be talked about as potential title contenders.

    The Lilywhites have shown their defensive superiority, with Belgian pairing Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen in outstanding form at the heart of their defence. Full-backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose have shown consistency in both defence and attack. Hugo Lloris is a world class goalkeeper, and the Frenchman has notched up 5 clean sheets thus far.
    It was a slow start to the campaign for Harry Kane, but he soon rediscovered his form and is now their leading scorer with 8. Tottenham have found the net 25 times (nearly double West Brom’s tally) and have shown they can back up their sturdy defence with a dynamic attack.

    Christian Eriksen has been a key figure and has an impressive 5 assists to his name. The Lively Son Heung-min is back from injury, and in Mousa Dembele, Erik Lamela and Dele Alli there is no shortage of creativity in the side.
    Belgian powerhouse Dembele believes the Midlands club should not be underestimated when Spurs visit the Hawthorns.

    The midfielder said: "There's a positive vibe in the group and the next game against West Brom, it's very important to continue that good vibe.

    "The focus for those kind of games [versus teams in the bottom half] are maybe more difficult than this one [against Chelsea]. Nobody has to have a speech for these kind of games [against the top teams].
    "But I think that's a thing we've learned this year – the 'small' teams, they're all difficult and everybody knows anyone can win against anyone. We have a lot of respect for everyone but we know we have to win these games if we want to be high up in the league.

    Key Stats

    - Pochettino’s side have only lost one of their last 11 Premier League meetings with West Brom (W5 D5 L1).

    - The Baggies have picked up just two points in their last five Premier League home matches against the north Londoners (W0 D2 L3).

    - Harry Kane has scored three times in his two Premier League appearances against Albion. He has only scored more against Leicester City (4).

    - Christian Eriksen has found the net in three of the Lilywhites last four top-flight clashes with Tony Pulis’ side.

    Team News
    Tottenham will be without Ryan Mason, Nacer Chadli, Nabil Bentaleb and Alex Pritchard (all ankle), but they welcome Dele Alli back from a one game suspension.

    West Brom have no new injury worries, however, Claudio Yacob is banned after picking up his fifth booking of the campaign at Upton Park last time out.

    Betting Odds (bet365)
    West Brom: 15/4
    Draw: 13/5
    Tottenham: 17/20
    Match Prediction

    Spurs have a fantastic record with three wins and a draw on their last four visits to the Hawthorns, scoring thirteen goals in the process. They are on a 13 game unbeaten run in the Premier League, so they are fearless at the minute. They were ground down by Chelsea last week but a gruelling trip to Azerbaijan three days earlier saw some tired legs. Six days recovery will have done Pochettino’s squad the world of good. I think the quality of the north Londoners will be too much for Tony Pulis’ side to cope with.

    West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur (15/2 with bet365)
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    Item Reviewed: West Brom v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Regan
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