Faltering West Brom face resurgent Nottingham Forest at The Hawthorns for Friday night football from the Championship. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
"Neither West Brom nor Nottingham Forest have been amongst the leading candidates for goals or entertainment in the Championship of late"
West Brom v Nottingham Forest
Friday November 26, 19:45
West Brom blunted at Bloomfield Road
Stuttering West Brom had to settle for a point at Blackpool with neither side boasting cutting edge needed to avoid a goalless draw at Bloomfield Road. The hosts' enjoyed the better opportunities in the first half with Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone called into action to make a superb double stop, although the Baggies grew into the game thereafter.
WBA substitutes Callum Robinson and Jordan Hugill both had opportunities for Valerien Ismael's outfit after coming on and Matt Clarke was denied a late winner as the visitors piled on the pressure late on. But Albion couldn't find the breakthrough as their winless away record extended to six games, whilst the automatic promotion places are out of reach.
Ismael's troops managed only three on-target attempts from 25 shots but the Baggies boss was pleased with his team's efforts, saying: "I think it was a great response from Saturday. The performance was exactly what we want to be. Aggressive. Plenty of desire. A strong mentality. Intensity. It was a tough away game and we can take a lot of positives."
Samba saves Forest
Improving Nottingham Forest had goalkeeper Brice Samba to thank after their own goalless draw in midweek. The Tricky Trees were held at the City Ground but the Reds' stopper saved a penalty as Steve Cooper's 10-men earned a share of the spoils against Luton following makeshift full-back Jack Colback's red card for two bookable offences.
The game burst into life after a tame first half, with Lyle Taylor forcing a fine save after being slid in by the lively Joe Lolley. Luton had barely threatened but had a penalty on the hour when Colback wrestled Tom Lockyer to the floor and was sent off for his second caution. But Samba diverted Elijah Adebayo's spot-kick over the bar with his trailing leg.
Cooper paid tribute to Samba post-match, saying: "He made a massive contribution to us getting a result. He got a round of applause in the dressing room afterwards."
As well as apportioning blame on the officials. The Reds chief may again shuffle his pack here after giving Paraguayan summer signing Braian Odeja his debut in midfield on Tuesday night.
West Brom and Nottingham Forest haven't been regular competitors in recent times, although the two teams have returned an even W6-D6-L6 split in 18 league meetings going back to 1986. Three of the most recent four encounters have ended all-square, and the Baggies are actually winless in their last four home match-ups with Forest (W0-D2-L2).
West Brom 1.705/7 dropped only two points across their first five fixtures under Valerien Ismael. However, pressure is now being cranked up around The Hawthorns with Albion tabling just five Championship triumphs in their following 14 games (W5-D5-L4) to move closer to seventh than automatic promotion. As hosts, WBA have W6-D3-L0 this term.
Nottingham Forest 5.204/1 have been held to four draws in their last six league dates, and the Tricky Trees have tasted top honours only once in their previous six encounters. But those of a glass half full persuasion will point to Steve Cooper's charges losing a solitary Championship contest in 12 (W6-D5-L1) with slow and steady progress up the standings.
Neither West Brom nor Nottingham Forest have been amongst the leading candidates for goals and entertainment in the Championship of late. Eleven of the Baggies' most recent 15 games have produced a maximum of one goal - Under 2.5 Goals 1.814/5 was also the right selection in 10 of those tussles, suggesting there's value again in opposing goals here.
Nottingham Forest have featured Under 2.5 Goals in half of their past eight encounters, whilst five of the Reds' nine road trips have also seen no more than two goals. The visitors' outings this season are averaging only 2.18 Expected Goals (xG) per-game, again highlighting the propensity for Friday night's contest to deliver fewer than three goals.
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