West Brom v Bristol City: Albion can edge enjoyable encounter
Table-topping West Brom take on fellow promotion candidates Bristol City for a mouthwatering Championship match-up on Wednesday night. Mark O'Haire previews the contest.
West Brom v Bristol City Wednesday November 27, 20:00 Sky Sports
West Brom consolidate top spot
Charlie Austin came off the bench to convert an 88th-minute penalty that earned West Brom a 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday and ensured the Baggies stayed top of the Championship by two points. Slaven Bilic's side have now secured 10 victories in their opening 17 fixtures, suffering a solitary league reverse under the Croatian's watch.
WBA were second-best in the opening exchanges against Wednesday and went ahead against the run of play through Hal Robson-Kanu's fourth goal in six matches. The Owls restored parity from the penalty spot and looked to have secured a deserved point before Austin's intervention following Keiren Westwood's foul on Matheus Pereira.
Bilic said, "It was a good game. It wasn't easy for us. I was pleased, though, with how we organised the attacks. We didn't create clear cut chances, but many times we were on the edge of the box trying to walk it in instead of trying a strike from 15 yards. It was good."
Jake Livermore and Romaine Sawyers are both expected to return from suspension here.
Bristol City below-par on Saturday
Bristol City boss Lee Johnson cut a frustrated figure on Saturday evening after overseeing the Robins' 0-0 draw at home to promotion rivals Nottingham Forest. City were playing against 10 men for the final 34 minutes of the Ashton Gate encounter but struggled to make inroads in the attacking third, failing to land a shot on-target in the close-fought contest.
Despite the draw, Bristol City's unbeaten run stretched to five games (W2-D3-L0) and the Robins remain unbeaten on home soil since losing to Leeds on the opening weekend of the season. However, the closest they came to breaking the deadlock here was when Andreas Weimann's effort was diverted on to the post, one of only seven attempts at goal.
Johnson said, "We had a lot of final third entries but couldn't quite get that moment of brilliance or class to seal it. I can't criticise the players but at the same time we have let them off the hook, through either a poor decision from the referee or us overcooking it at times." Bailey Wright returned but defenders Taylor Moore and Tomas Kalas remain doubts.
Baggies firm favourites at The Hawthorns
West Brom and Bristol City produced two thrilling affairs last season with 11 goals plundered across the contests; the Baggies were 4-2 victors at The Hawthorns in September before suffering a costly 3-2 reverse at Ashton Gate in April. Albion have actually won their last three games hosting the Robins, racking up at least four goals in all three triumphs.
West Brom 1.66 have earned 17 points from their last 21 available (W5-D2-L0) since early October and the Baggies are unbeaten (W4-D4-L0) in eight outings at The Hawthorns under Slaven Bilic's watch. Albion have fired only a solitary blank this term with the league leaders are returning reasonable Expected Goals (xG) ratio figures just below the 57% mark.
Bristol City5.70 have only been beaten twice in 2019/20 and the Robins have collected 16 points from nine away days thus far (W4-D4-L1). Even so, the visitors are winless in five fixtures against the top-eight (W0-D4-L1) and have produced negative supremacy figures for xG ratio (45%), xG from open play ratio (47%) and shots from inside the penalty area (45%).
Albion to edge enjoyable encounter
Eight of the last 10 meetings between West Brom and Bristol City have featured Over 2.5 Goals1.68 and Both Teams To Score1.68 backers have profited in nine of those previous head-to-head encounters dating back to 1998.
West Brom's opening eight games at The Hawthorns have averaged 4.00 goals per-game - five of which have seen Over 3.5 Goals land - whilst six of Bristol City's nine away days have produced at least three goals. Collectively, 15 (88%) of their combined 17 home/away ties have delivered BTTS winners as the duo have recorded a solitary shutout in that sample.
With goals a little too short to support and West Brom too skinny to back outright against a resilient Robins outfit, it makes sense to combine a selection on the Baggies in the Double Chance market alongside Both Teams To Score with an inviting 1.94 - around 20/21-available on the Betfair Sportsbook Same Game Multi market.