West Brom were in dreamland momentarily during the first leg of their Championship Play-Offs meeting with Midlands rivals Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday. Dwight Gayle opened the scoring during what was a positive first half for the Baggies after latching onto a mistake from Glenn Whelan before firing past Jed Steer in goal.
Things were looking good for West Brom until Villa came out much improved in the second half and they capitalised on that when Conor Hourihane scored an absolute beauty after coming on to replace Glen Whelan. West Brom threw the game away within a five-minute spell after Kieran Gibbs failed to utilise his experience and naively brought down Jack Grealish in the penalty area. Tammy Abraham stepped up and did the rest, earning a huge win for Aston Villa to take with them to the Hawthorns on Tuesday night.
Defeat wasn’t the only blow to be dealt to West Brom at Villa Park as Dwight Gayle also picked up a red card after a late challenge on Jed Steer, meaning he will be ruled out of the second leg and that is not what James Shan needs as his players have the task of finding goals on Tuesday in order to have any chance of completing a turnaround.
West Brom v Aston Villa team news
Dwight Gayle’s frustration got the better of him at Villa Park and the disappointment will now be settling in for him as he realises he can have no involvement or impact on the return fixture. The hopes now lay on Jay Rodriguez’s shoulders as he is the Baggies’ only option in that number nine position.
Craig Dawson was taken off midway through the first leg
having picked up an injury, so it is expected that Mason Holgate will slot into
the back three with Tyrone Mears coming in to fill the void at wing-back.
Conor Hourihane didn’t start the first leg, however, he came on in place of Glen Whelan and score the important equalising goal. He may be in with a shout of starting the game after having an instant impact and saving Whelan’s blushes.
Both teams to score during the second leg looks like a good bet at 1.66 as that selection has come in during six of West Brom’s last seven games, including in the first leg at Villa Park. West Brom have no problem finding the net at the Hawthorns as they have scored at least twice in their last five at home, racking up a total of 15 goals. However, they are going to be without Dwight Gayle who scored at the weekend, so they’re going to need a big performance from Jay Rodriguez who will lead the line on Tuesday night.
Both teams to score and over 2.5 as a combination is priced at 2.10, and I really like the look of that. There have been three or more goals in seven out of West Brom’s last nine games, and for Aston Villa, they have seen over 2.5 in eight of their last 11. This selection would have been a winner during the first leg and I think we are going to be in with another high scoring affair.
Five of the last six meetings between these two Midlands rivals at the Hawthorns has ended all square. Another draw is priced at 3.40, and that is a result which would be music to the ears of those concerned with Aston Villa as it would be them to advance and take part in the final if that was indeed the result.
West Brom v Aston Villa – Draw @ 3.40
Both Teams to Score @ 1.66
Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 goals @ 2.10