West Brom and Middlesbrough both suffered heartbreaks in the League Cup this midweek. The Baggies lost to League One side Northampton FC on penalties after a 2-2 stalemate while Boro lost 1-2 to Championship side Fulham. Both Tony Pulis and Aitor Karanka have reasons to be concerned following their sides being ousted of the knockout tournament.
Boro are yet to face a defeat after making their way back to the Premier League having beaten rivals Sunderland last week after a stalemate against Stoke on the opening day. On the other hand, West Brom let a one-goal advantage against Everton slip last weekend to lose the game 1-2 after starting their season with a 0-1 win over Crystal Palace.
The two sides will meet for the first time since 2010 but the recent records are overwhelming for the Baggies who have won all their last four games against the Teessiders scoring one and conceding none in the process. However, you have to fancy Boro for the game following their impressive start to life in the Premier League.
Chris Brunt will definitely miss the game with a knee injury. Jonny Evans is a slight doubt for the game with a hip injury but is likely to play through it.
Boro will be without an accomplished left-back as they take on West Brom. George Friend (calf), Fabio da Silva (knee) and James Husband (dislocated shoulder) will all be missing for Karanka’s side. Victor Valdes and Marten de Roon both are out with hamstring injuries while Grant Leadbitter misses the trip as following a sports hernia surgery. Bernardo Espinosa could make the squad shaking off a knee problem.
Setups and predicted lineups
West Brom are likely to line up in a traditional 4-4-2 formation. Ben Foster will start under the bar behind the back four of Dawson, McAuley, Olsson and Evans. Yacob and Fletcher are likely to start in the middle of the park with Phillips and Gardner on the flanks. Saido Berahino will start up front alongside Salomon Rondon.
Starting XI: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Evans; Gardner, Yacob, Fletcher, Phillips; Berahino, Rondon
The Teessiders will start in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Brad Guzan will be on duty under the bar. The back four will be Nsue, Ayala, Gibson and Barragan. Clayton and Forshaw will start in the middle of the park. Gaston Ramirez will start as the number ten acting as the brain of the side while Stuani and Downing on the flanks. Alvaro Negredo will spearhead the attack for Boro.
Starting XI: Guzan, Nsue, Ayala, Gibson, Barragan; Clayton, Forshaw; Stuani, Ramirez, Downing; Negredo
Both managers are defensive minded and we do not expect plenty of goals. One goal might be enough to separate the two sides. This game won’t be lucrative to the neutrals at all. We predict a 0-0 scoreline.