Table-toppers West Brom host Stoke City on Monday night as Slaven Bilic’s men look to keep up their impressive home form.
The Baggies have lost just once at the Hawthorns all season and this has helped them open up a slender one-point lead at the top, but more importantly, a seven-point gap on the team in third.
The Baggies have lost twice all season and are making a beeline for the Premier League. Stoke, until Michael O’Neill’s arrival, were only making a beeline for League One.
The Northern Irish manager has given the Potters a realistic chance of survival but taking anything from the Hawthorns will be a tall order on Monday night.
When is West Brom vs Stoke and where can I watch live?
Competition: EFL Championship
Venue: The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Date: Monday, 20 January 2020
Kick-off: 8:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Main Event and live online via the Sky Sports app.
Last five meetings: West Brom v Stoke
04 November 2019: Stoke 0-2 West Brom (EFL Championship)
09 February 2019: Stoke 0-1 West Brom (EFL Championship)
01 September 2018: West Brom 2-1 Stoke (EFL Championship)
23 December 2017: Stoke 3-1 West Brom (Premier League)
27 August 2017: West Brom 1-1 Stoke (Premier League)
Aggregate Score: West Brom (WWWLD) 7-5 Stoke (LLLWD)
Ones to watch
West Brom: Matheus Pereira
No player has had a bigger impact on the Championship this season than 23-year-old Brazilian Matheus Pereira. He has lit up the second-tier like a solar flare in the arctic winter.
He is a creative force in the extreme, laying on chances, scoring goals and being a delight to watch. He makes this team tick and considering the dark times the Baggies endured under the likes of Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew, having a player like Pereira in the side must seem like a breath of fresh air.
Key stat: Matheus Pereira has 10 assists in the Championship this season, no player has more.
Stoke City: James McClean
The Republic of Ireland international has been a big part of this Stoke team and is the player O’Neill trusts to lead from the front.
Since the player was shifted from left-back, he has played a lot better, contributing four assists and two goals in the last 11 matches alone. The player admitted his manager has been brilliant since taking charge.
“He’s been brilliant with me and hopefully I’m repaying that faith he’s shown in me with my performances,” McClean told the Potters’ website.
“Hopefully I can give more of that between now and the end of the season.”
Key stat: McClean has directly contributed to seven goals (four goals and three assists) for the Potters this season, no teammate has contributed to more.
West Brom are relatively injury-free heading into this one.
Kieran Gibbs is out meaning Connor Townsend will continue at left-back but Grady Diangana is set to return after a full week of training and might pip Hal Robson-Kanu and Filip Krovinovic to a starting berth.
Predicted XI: Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, Barkley, Townsend; Livermore, Sawyers; Phillips, Diangana, Pereira; Zohore.
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Ryan Shawcross looks set to miss out again due to injury while Thomas Edwards could replace Bruno Martins Indi following the 0-0 draw with Millwall.
Tyrese Campbell, who impressed during a loan spell with Shrewsbury, has been excellent for the Potters and will play on the right again as Stoke look to move away from the drop zone.
Predicted XI: Butland; Smith, Batth, Lindsay, Edwards; Allen, Powell, Clucas; Campbell, Vokes, McClean.
West Brom’s league form is sensational and they fully deserve to sit top of the table. They can’t rest on their laurels and will be aiming to bag another big three points when the lowly Potters visit in front of the Sky cameras.
O’Neill’s side are still a work in progress and they have been improving, losing just two of the last seven, but it will be a big ask to get anything from the Hawthorns.