West Bromwich Albion host Fulham at The Hawthorns this afternoon and Sam Allardyce could ring the changes after watching his side lose 5-0 to Manchester City on Tuesday.
The Baggies are considering changes in midfield, but they’ll need to shake up the defence as they have conceded more goals (48) than any other Premier League club this season. Also, with Albion being shut out in 10 of their 20 league games, Allardyce could decide to alter his attack as well.
Sam Johnstone conceded five goals in midweek but isn’t at risk of losing his place between the sticks as he has saved 64% of the shots on target he has faced this season.
Darnell Furlong underperformed at right-back against Man City, so Dara O’Shea might get the nod today. Kieran Gibbs also delivered a disappointing performance at left-back in midweek, so the returning Conor Townsend might start.
Kyle Bartley came off the bench on Tuesday and was culpable for Man City’s fifth goal by not following Raheem Sterling’s run into the box, but he might come in at centre-back if O’Shea is moved to the right.
Robert Snodgrass could start as his goal output, distribution and work rate will be key. The 33-year-old had a hand in 10 goals from 17 Premier League last season for West Ham, creating 33 chances, having 21 shots and whipping in 136 crosses (WhoScored), so Allardyce is likely to give him the nod.
Jake Livermore is the lesser of two evils in midfield, as he wasn’t as bad as Romaine Sawyers in midweek. Allardyce doesn’t have a lot of depth in the engine room, so he might give the 31-year-old skipper one last chance to impress in a holding role. Sawyers might be dropped after his poor performance against Man City, so the energetic Conor Gallagher is in pole position to start.
Until Grady Diangana returns from injury, Allardyce doesn’t have many options on the wing. Only Matheus Pereira has created more chances (29) than Matt Phillips (12) for West Brom and only Pereira whips in more accurate crosses (every 79.1 minutes) than Phillips (every 84.8 minutes), so the 29-year-old should get the nod on the wing [WhoScored].
Pereira is a given. He has scored the most goals (4), supplied the most assists (3), created the most chances and has the second-most dribbles (20) of any Baggies player this season (WhoScored). He should sit behind the lone striker.
Karlan Grant didn’t set the world alight against City, but Allardyce praised the 23-year-old before Tuesday’s defeat and said he’ll provide more of a goal threat, so he should lead the line against Fulham.
In total, we anticipate that Allardyce will make four changes from the side which began the 5-0 drubbing by Manchester City.
Predicted XI vs Fulham: Johnstone; O’Shea, Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend; Snodgrass, Livermore, Gallagher, Phillips; Pereira; Grant,