Preview: West Brom v Swans
Swansea City take on bottom-of-the-table West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns this afternoon (3pm) as they look to take a step closer to Premier League survival.
Carlos Carvalhal’s men are 11 points better off than their opponents this weekend, who will need a spectacular run of form in the final weeks of the season to have any chance of avoiding the drop.
But the Swans are well aware that they also have plenty of work to do before they can look forward to another season of top-flight football.
Carvalhal’s side are just three points and three places clear of the relegation places as they head to the West Midlands, where they will go in search of only a third away victory in the league this season.
Their last travelling triumph was at Watford at the end of December – Carvalhal’s first game in charge.
How the Portuguese would love a repeat performance today as the Swans look to end a three-game winless streak in all competitions.
The Swans were beaten 2-0 at Manchester United last time out, although their much-improved performance in the second half at Old Trafford has lifted spirits ahead of the Baggies clash.
The Swans have a fine record against Albion in the Premier League era, having won eight and drawn one of 13 previous encounters at this level.
Their most recent victory was in the last meeting of the two clubs, when Wilfried Bony scored late on at the Liberty in December.
If the Swans can win again today, they will be celebrating a first double of the season in the Premier League.
More importantly, they will be three points closer to staying up.
West Brom are again set to be without Daniel Sturridge, who has had a torrid time with hamstring issues since joining on loan from Liverpool.
Nacer Chadli could play some part after a lengthy lay-off, but Gareth Barry is definitely missing along with James Morrison.
Influential Swans forward Jordan Ayew completes his three-match ban today, while Leroy Fer, Renato Sanches and Wilfried Bony remain out.
Angel Rangel is also unavailable despite returning to training this week, but Sam Clucas is fit to play despite a knee injury scare last weekend.
WHAT THEY SAID
West Brom caretaker manager Darren Moore: "Anybody who knows me will know that all I'm focused on is Swansea and nothing more than that. Together as a group we are really looking forward to the game."
Carlos Carvalhal: “Things are not predictable – we don’t know how they will play. That means this week we have been thinking a lot about ourselves and what we can do.”
Tammy Abraham: “I expect them to come out fighting, but for us it’s about going out all guns blazing because they are in a difficult position.”
LAST SIX MEETINGS
11.02.15 West Brom 2 Swans 0
26.12.15 Swans 1 West Brom 0
02.02.16 West Brom 1 Swans 1
14.12.16 West Brom 3 Swans 1
21.5.17 Swans 2 West Brom 1
09.12.17 Swans 1 West Brom 0
25 – The Swans have enjoyed facing West Brom in the Premier League era, taking 25 points from their 13 past encounters with the Baggies at this level. The Liberty club triumphed when these two last met, in December, thanks to Wilfried Bony’s thumping late goal.
6 – With six goals for West Ham this season, Andre Ayew remains the Hammers’ third top scorer. The forward will aim to net for the first time since returning to Swansea in January if, as expected, he makes the fourth start of his second stint in Wales today.
3 – West Brom have won only three of their 32 league games this season, with two of those successes coming in the first two games of the campaign.