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West Brom v Spurs: The lowdown on the Baggies

09:00 12 April 2014

West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino

EMPICS Sport

Charlie Eccleshare casts his eye over Pepe Mel’s West Bromwich Albion as Tottenham travel to The Hawthorns this afternoon.

West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe MelWest Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel

The lowdown…

West Brom go into today’s game at The Hawthorns on the back of a crucial 1-0 win at Norwich last weekend, which moved them five points clear of the relegation zone.

It was a relief for the Baggies, who have endured a difficult season dominated by off-field events.

Not only have Albion had three managers this term (Steve Clarke, caretaker boss Keith Downing and the current incumbent Pepe Mel), they have also had to deal with the controversy surrounding Nicolas Anelka’s quenelle gesture.

As if that wasn’t enough scandal, young forward Saido Berahino was involved in a brawl with team-mate James Morrison in the dressing-room after the 3-3 draw with Cardiff two weeks ago.

But their fortunes on the pitch are improving, with two wins and a draw from the last four games, and after Swedish international defender Jonas Olsson returned from suspension last Saturday, Mel’s side should avoid the drop.

Ones to watch…

On-loan French midfielder Morgan Amalfitano and England Under-21 international Berahino will provide the Baggies’ main threats in the Midlands today.

Amalfitano has scored four from midfield this season, including two in the last two games and a memorable solo goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford in September.

Youngster Berahino could also play an important part, although probably from the bench rather than from the start. The 20-year old has enjoyed a promising campaign, scoring eight goals and impressing with his pace and finishing.

Recent meetings…

Tottenham have not lost to Albion since 2008, but two of the last three encounters have been drawn, including the fixture earlier this season.

That match finished 1-1 at White Hart Lane on Boxing Day, in only Tim Sherwood’s third game in charge. Christian Eriksen put the hosts in front with a trademark free-kick before West Brom equalised when Olsson prodded home from close range.

Prediction…

Spurs were back to their attacking best against Sunderland on Monday, and have a good record away from home this season so they should be too strong for the inconsistent Baggies – 3-1 to Tottenham.

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