West Brom v Brighton
Wednesday February 6, 20:05
Live on BBC1
West Brom suffer frustrating defeat
West Brom slipped to only their second league loss in 13 games on Saturday as old boss Tony Pulis guided his Middlesbrough group to a 2-1 win at The Hawthorns. Albion came from behind to lead with goals from Jay Rodriguez and a deflected Dwight Gayle effort before two goals in an eight-minute spell turned the game against the Baggies.
The result meant West Brom slipped to fourth in the Championship table, four points below the automatic promotion places, with boss Darren Moore admitting it was a "frustrating afternoon" for Albion fans. The Baggies enjoyed 67% of the ball and appeared in command for the majority of the match, winning the Expected Goals (xG) count 1.52-0.42.
Moore made three deadline-day signings and opted to start Jacob Murphy and Jefferson Montero on the bench, while Stefan Johansen was omitted due to restrictions surrounding matchday loan players. Veteran midfielders Gareth Barry and Chris Brunt may drop out of after making mistakes on Saturday, while Matt Phillips and James Morrison remain crocked.
Brighton unable to overcome Hornets
Brighton manager Chris Hughton said he was "pleased with the performance" after seeing the Seagulls claim a point at home to Watford on Saturday. However, it could and probably should have been all three for the Seasiders as opposition goalkeeper Ben Foster made a series of smart saves to keep the contest goalless at the Amex Stadium.
Albion remain winless in 2019 but fired in 21 efforts at the weekend, while restricting Watford to zero on-target attempts. Nevertheless, a combination of wayward finishing and Foster heroics kept Brighton at bay as they ramped up the pressure in the second-half. Jurgen Locadia, Shane Duffy and Florin Andone all came close to securing maximum points.
Hughton has admitted Brighton are in a Premier League relegation battle - though they are priced at 20.019/1 to go down on the Betfair Exchange market - and the visiting boss looks set to rest and rotate his squad once more in the FA Cup. That means keeper David Button, defenders Bruno, Leon Balogun, Dan Burn and Bernardo, as well as Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Beram Kayal, Anthony Knockaert and Andone are all expected to feature.
Baggies overpriced to succeed
The first fixture between these two teams ended in a 0-0 stalemate, although Brighton dominated proceedings at the Amex; the Seagulls won the shot count 24-6 with the Baggies managing only two on-target attempts. However, WBA are unbeaten against Brighton at The Hawthorns since 1976 (W6-D4-L0) and rated 3.1085/40 underdogs to triumph.
Darren Moore's men haven't been quoted at a bigger price at home in 2018/19 and there has to be a glimmer of value in the Baggies considering the visitors rank rock-bottom of the Premier League's xG from open play standings, whilst also seemingly set to field a second-string XI here. The 2.546/4 on Brighton is certainly unappealing.
Since promotion to the Premier League, Chris Hughton's guests have registered only six victories on their travels in 36 games. Nevertheless, the odds on offer imply the Seagulls boast a 39% chance of success on Wednesday night and that's skinny enough to oppose.
Goals appeal at the prices
No Championship team has seen more goals per-game than West Brom's tally of 3.34 this season and that figure increases to 3.73 when viewing matches at The Hawthorns despite only 9/15 (60%) featuring three or more goals. The hosts have only silenced four of their 29 opposition outfits with 22 (76%) seeing both sides score.
Brighton can't match WBA's numbers but surprisingly, the Seasiders have seen Over 2.5 Goals 2.226/5 collect in 7/13 (54%) away trips this term with an average goals per-game figure of 2.77. Indeed, six of 10 visits to sides outside the Big Six have seen at least three goals as Chris Hughton's charges have conceded at least twice on seven occasions.
Obviously, being an FA Cup tie these figures aren't completely applicable although I do feel there's a smidgen of value in backing a goal-filled game.