West Brom begin life back in the Premier League with a Midlands derby against Leicester City on Sunday. Slaven Bilic’s side earned automatic promotion after a two year absence, and face a tough derby against the Foxes for their opening game.
Having looked like squandering the chance to go up automatically, West Brom benefitted from Brentford’s capitulation to finish runners-up to Leeds in the Championship. The Baggies did, however, fail to win any of their last four games with three ending in a draws. West Brom have played one pre-season friendly which ended in another 0-0 draw against Premier League rivals Brighton. A number of players have left The Hawthorns since promotion including retired Ali Al-Habsi and Gareth Barry, Nathan Ferguson (Crystal Palace), Chris Brunt (Bristol City), Jonathan Leko (Birmingham City) and Oliver Burke (Sheffield United). Callum Robinson has moved the other way from Sheffield United and has been joined by Brighton goalkeeper David Button, West Ham midfielder Grady Diangana, Sporting Lisbon midfielder Matheus Pereira after his successful loan spell and Wigan defender Cedric Kipre. Defender Connor Townsend and forward Kenneth Zohore are both injury doubts to face Leicester.
Leicester City secured Europe League football having finished in fifth place last season, despite losing three of the final four games. The Foxes were beaten by Bournemouth, Tottenham and Manchester United on the run in and missed out on a spot in the Champions League by four points. Brendan Rodgers’ side have squeezed in three pre-season friendlies since the Premier League season ended. Leicester won 2-0 against Birmingham before drawing 0-0 with Sheffield Wednesday and 1-1 with Blackburn Rovers. There has been one major addition to the Leicester squad with the £21million signing of Belgian full-back Timothy Castagne from Atalanta. Ben Chilwell has been sold to Chelsea and George Thomas (QPR), Andy King (yet to find a new club) and Bartosz Kapustka (Legia Warsaw) have also left. Rodgers has injury problems to contend with in defence with Ricardo Pereira still sidelined and Jonny Evans and Christian Fuchs also out. Wes Morgan is a doubt, as is James Maddison.
It is more than 10 years since the home side won a game between West Brom and Leicester. The Foxes were 4-1 winners at the Hawthorns the last two these met, and have now won on their last four trips to West Brom. Over the last nine heads to heads, Leicester edge it 4-3 with two draws.
PREDICTION : DRAW 2-2
ACCUMULATOR TIP : OVER 1.5 FT
SINLGE TIP : OVER 2.5