West Brom v Cardiff: Baggies looking to bounce back fast
Albion have already shown multiple times this season they respond well to set-backs.
Slaven Bilic’s team has fallen behind In seven Championship games, only to then go on and get a result.
But neither the head coach nor supporters have seen how this Baggies side responds following a loss in the league.
And that is now a question that has to be answered when Cardiff visit The Hawthorns tomorrow.
While the loss at Leeds hurt on Tuesday, there is no reason to suggest it will disrupt Albion’s rhythm.
Bilic’s side dominated the ball in the second-half at Elland Road.
And while they weren’t able to find the goal their performance warranted, they still left immensely proud of their display.
One issue that did arise at Elland Road, though, was the quality of the chances they created.
Matheus Pereira arguably went closest to scoring when he curled agonizingly wide with a free-kick from 25-yards.
But there wasn’t that one clear chance you’d expect a striker to score.
And creating those moments is going to be crucial against a Cardiff side who are as dogged and organised as you’d expect under Neil Warnock.
Up front, Bilic has a big decision to make with Hal Robson-Kanu a surprise inclusion at Leeds.
The boss said he left Charlie Austin on the bench as he felt three games in a week was too much for the forward.
But he now faces an interesting dilemma against a Cardiff side who are very strong in the air.
Centre-backs Aden Flint and Sean Morrison have statistically been amongst the best players in the Championship this season.
But they are not the most mobile and don’t like it when players run at them.
And that means Kenneth Zohore is an option to start against his former side with the forward boasting the mobility that is likely to cause Flint and Morrison problems.
The Bluebirds enter tomorrow’s game in good form and on the back of a five game unbeaten run.
But their latest victory– against QPR on Wednesday – was achieved by registering just 28 per cent possession.
It is almost certain they will sit back again tomorrow with Albion set to dominate the ball.
Warnock’s side will then look to play on the counter-attack, largely by hitting widemen Gavin Whyte and Jacob Murphy will long balls.
Whyte, who operates on the right, will be their main threat with his battle with Nathan Ferguson set to be key.
Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is also going to have to be wary of the visitors’ threat from distance – with Cardiff tending to operate on a shoot-on-sight policy.
Where they have struggled this season, though, is when they have been attacked at pace.
If Grady Diangana, Matt Phillips and Matheus Pereira are all on song, Cardiff should struggle with how quickly Albion move the ball.
Likely line up:
Subs: Bond, O’Shea, Gibbs, Edwards, Robson-Kanu, Krovinovic, Zohore.
Cardiff: (4-3-2-1): Smithies, Peltier, Morrison, Flint, Bennett, Pack, Bacuna, Tomlin, Whyte, Glatzel, Murphy
Saturday, January 7, 2012
A Simon Cox hat-trick guided Albion into the FA Cup fourth round as they survived a Cardiff City fightback at The Hawthorns.
Peter Odemwingie opened the scoring after seven minutes despite some strong offside appeals from the visitors.
Cox headed in a second from Nicky Shorey’s free-kick before the visitors rallied through Rob Earnshaw and a Joe Mason solo strike.
But Cox sealed victory with a 25-yard shot off the post and a late tap-in following a dangerous Odemwingie cross.
Matheus Pereira v Marlon Pack
After an impressive start to his Albion career, Pereira has taken his game to another level in his last few outings – with the number 10 combining beautifully with Grady Diangana in particular.
Defensive midfielder Pack, though, is a master at breaking up play and stopping teams from getting any rhythm.
Snapped he up from Bristol City on deadline day, he will be tasked with protecting the defence and stopping the Brazilian from running the game.
On recent form, though, Pereira will be confident he can outfox the 28-year-old.