History says goals in Baggies Cardiff clash, where will they come from?
There is literally nothing to choose between West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City in recent meetings at The Hawthorns, ahead of their six-pointer.
Of those last five encounters in all competitions, there are two wins apiece and the other was drawn. That makes this match, even with so much riding on it, tough to call.
Coral make the Baggies odds-on 5/6 favourites for victory, however, despite Pepe Mel’s solitary win since taking charge, as Bluebirds boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is yet to pick up three Premier League points on the road.
That status is scarcely deserved, though. Albion have taken the third-fewest points on their own patch (behind fellow strugglers Sunderland and basement club Fulham). It comes as no surprise to learn that no top-flight team has picked up fewer away results than 10/3 outsiders Cardiff.
Backing a draw at 5/2 looks exceptionally generous value from Coral, but punters should avoid doing so on the premise that both sides will want to avoid defeat. Scandinavian Solskjaer’s need to get a result is far greater than Spanish counterpart Mel.
Normally speaking, this fixture when taking place in the West Midlands is a goal-fest. Three of the last four at The Hawthorns have contained six strikes each, and that happening again is a long shot at 14/1.
Looking through current squad lists, however, there is simply no case for that trend continuing.
Veteran Hungary midfielder Zoltan Gera is the only fit player in the entire West Brom squad that has a goal to his name against the Bluebirds. If punters are compelled to put money on the scorer markets, then back him at 9/2 to net anytime.
Cardiff have playmaker Peter Whittingham, who has three in his last three outings when playing the Baggies, however. He is by far your best of any man who is likely to turn out here at 4/1 to score.
Kenwyne Jones once boasted a similar strike rate to Whittingham, but has failed to net in his last seven appearances against Albion. If punters think the Trinidad and Tobago frontman is due a goal, then take 2/1 on him being on target.
Elsewhere in the scrap for survival, Norwich (4/1) travel to Swansea (odds-on favourites at 8/11), with a draw priced at 13/5. The Canaries have earned just eight Premier League points on their travels this term, but have won on the last two visits to the Liberty.
Odds of 17/2 on a Norwich win and both teams to score looks decent value. Interim Swans head coach Garry Monk has one Premier League win to his name, while Canaries boss Chris Hughton will have a plan. Winger Robert Snodgrass has two in his last three outings against Swansea, so back him to score anytime at 7/2.
Stoke host Hull, with both teams enjoying daylight between themselves and the drop. Mark Hughes’ Potters have improved their home form of late, so odds of 11/10 on a victory for them are understandable.
The Tigers are 13/5 outsiders after losing at West Ham and will be without hospitalised stopper Allan McGregor, who won an appeal against his sending off. A draw is 11/5, but Stoke won the last Premier League encounter at the Britannia with this side comfortably.