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Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Swansea City

Sports Mole takes a look at the facts and figures ahead of Swansea City's Premier League trip to West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night.

Two struggling and indeed bottom-half sides will meet in the Premier League on Tuesday as West Bromwich Albion welcome Swansea City to The Hawthorns.

West Brom are still above Swansea in the table, but the visitors will enter this match off the back of consecutive wins, having beaten both Watford and Everton in their last two fixtures.


West Brom

Saido Berahino shakes hands with Tony Pulis during the FA Cup game between West Brom and Bristol City on January 9, 2016© Getty Images

The would he, wouldn't he saga has surrounded West Brom over the last couple of weeks, with Saido Berahino once again the subject of speculation since the January transfer window opened. The Englishman is still a Baggies player after the deadline, however, and with six goals to his name this season, is expected to play a significant role for Tony Pulis's side in the second half of the campaign.

There is no question that the Baggies could do with some fresh impetus in the final third, with only Aston Villa (18) scoring fewer league goals this season. Pulis's team managed to put back-to-back wins together over Newcastle United and Stoke City either side of New Year's Day, but a run of three without a league win has seen the team drop into 14th position in the Premier League table.

West Brom are still seven points clear of the drop zone, however, and it would be a surprise if they were dragged into the fight over the next couple of months. They have only won one of their last six games in all competitions, however, and that came in the FA Cup. Their progress in that competition has stalled, however, after only managing a 2-2 draw at home to Peterborough United in their fourth-round match at the weekend.

While the Baggies are still pretty comfortable in the table, this fixture and indeed Saturday's trip to Newcastle United will be seen as extremely important. They have beaten both Arsenal and Chelsea at home this season, but it has been a largely inconsistent campaign, which has seen them struggle to put together a run of results.

Their overall record against Swansea is also quite disappointing having only won three of the nine Premier League meetings between the two teams. There is no question that West Brom have the ability to keep clean sheets, but they have attempted a league-low of 69 shots in their 23 fixtures this season, suggesting that there are problems in the final third of the field.

Recent form: LWWDLD
Recent form (all competitions): DDLWDD


Swansea

Francesco Guidolin and Roberto Martinez during the Premier League match between Everton and Swansea City at Goodison Park on January 24, 2016© Getty Images

While West Brom are looking over their shoulders after three league games without a win, Swansea are chasing their third straight league victory, which is not something that they have achieved this season. Alan Curtis led the Welsh side to a 1-0 win over Watford on January 18, before new head coach Francesco Guidolin oversaw a surprise 2-1 victory at Everton last time out.

Having been tipped to enjoy another impressive season, Swansea struggled in the early part of the campaign, which ultimately led to the sacking of Garry Monk. It has been a difficult few months for those involved with the club, but another win at The Hawthorns would move them above West Brom and level on points with Chelsea, who do not play until Wednesday evening.

While West Brom will see this match as the perfect chance to return to winning ways, the same can be said for Swansea, who will be wary of upcoming games against Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal over the next month. There has been improvement in recent weeks, but they are still only four points clear of the relegation zone and both Bournemouth and Newcastle United will be confident of escaping trouble over the next few weeks.

Swansea's statistics this season suggest that they will need to be strong at the back if they are to pick up the wins that they desire. Indeed, the Welsh side have not scored more than two goals in a Premier League match this season and along with West Brom, they have only scored 22 times in the league, better than only Aston Villa.

The supporters have been boosted by a couple of new signings, however, with Alberto Paloschi joining from Chievo and Netherlands international Leroy Fer moving on loan from Queens Park Rangers on transfer deadline day. The Swans also managed to hold off strong interest in Andre Ayew, who was linked with a move to Sunderland in the final week of the winter window.

Recent form: WDLLWW
Recent form (all competitions): DLLLWW


Team News

Joleon Lescott of Aston Villa and Saido Berahino of West Bromwich Albion compete for the ball on January 23, 2016© Getty Images

As mentioned, Berahino is available for the home side and is expected to feature from the onset. However, Pulis will be without the services of Callum McManaman, who has a calf problem.

Darren Fletcher is expected to overcome a knee problem to start, but Chris Brunt and James Morrison are both unavailable, leaving Pulis with few options when selecting his midfield.

There could be debuts for two new players, however, with Sandro and Alex Pritchard both in the squad.

As for Swansea, new striker Paloschi is expected to make his debut, but Fer is still waiting for international clearance and as it stands, is not expected to take part at The Hawthorns.

The visitors have no fresh injury concerns, however, and the team is not expected to show many changes from the one that impressively secured all the points at Everton last time out.

West Brom possible starting lineup:
Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Evans; Fletcher, Yacob, Sandro; Sessegnon, Berahino, McClean

Swansea possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Rangel, Williams, Fernandez, Taylor; Britton, Sigurdsson, Cork; Ayew, Paloschi, Routledge


Head To Head

There has never been a Premier League draw between these two teams, with Swansea winning six of their nine meetings in the top flight and West Brom recording three victories.

Swansea were also 1-0 winners when the pair met at the Liberty Stadium earlier this season, but West Brom triumphed 2-0 in the corresponding match during the 2014-15 campaign.


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We say: West Brom 1-1 Swansea

It is not exactly a must-win game for either team, but both managers will be wary of defeat and what it could do confidence-wise as the season continues to gather pace.

West Brom are usually difficult to beat at home and while Swansea will enter the match full of confidence, it is difficult to back against the Baggies in these type of matches. These two teams have never shared the points in the Premier League, but we are backing a low-scoring draw this time around.



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