West Brom will be hoping to show the same sort of resilience they showed in coming back from 1-0 down to beat Blackpool 3-2. The win ended a run of six consecutive losses in all competitions – their worst performance in nearly eight years.
Although midfielder Chris Brunt has gone quiet on the assists front (10 but none since mid-December) the likes of Graham Dorrans and James Morrison have picked up the slack. And there is always Peter Odemwingie to fire the bullets produced by the Scottish midfield duo.
The Nigerian striker has 8 Premier League goals already in 17 appearances and is looking like a shrewd piece of business by West Brom. However, the Baggies defence continues to be a problem with only one clean sheet so far.
For the game against Blackpool captain and goalkeeper Scott Carson was dropped. Up to then Carson had been the only ever present in the West Brom line up. Replacement Boaz Myhill was competent last Saturday and did nothing to suggest that Roberto Di Matteo will recall Carson.
Blackburn secured the return of Roque Santa Cruz on loan from Manchester City. Santa Cruz has battled fitness problems throughout his career as is illustrated by less than 250 club appearances over close to 12 seasons in Europe.
Despite one great season in 2007/08 when he scored 19 Premier League goals for the Rovers his return has never stretched beyond modest. In fact 19 goals constitutes on third of his club output throughout his time in Europe.
Nonetheless, Santa Cruz must surely improve a side that doesn’t have a player with more than 4 league goals and that did not register a shot in the last hour of their game against Chelsea last weekend.
Newly installed manager Steve Kean – he had the temporary tag removed this week and handed a contract extension – will also be looking for his side to show greater application when going a goal down – Blackburn are the only side that have lost every game in which they have conceded the first goal.
Nine times the Rovers have gone behind and nine times they have lost. On the other hand West Brom are unbeaten after scoring first and only West Ham have fought back to draw.
Blackburn has the 4th best record in the half time league. They have only trailed three times at the break while being tied in 12 games – 9 of them scoreless. Conversely West Brom has gone in at half time leading 3 times – another 11 have been draws.
On their previous four Premier League visits to Ewood Park West Brom failed to win but have left with a point three times.
Slow starters – West Brom have only scored once in the first opening quarter of an hour of play but have allowed their opponents to score 8. No other Premier League team has allowed the opposition more than 5 goals.
Edging ahead – Blackburn are one point better off than they were after 23 games last season.
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