Huddersfield v West Brom | Friday 17th July 2020, 17:30 | Sky Sports
This will be the first of three remaining Championship games for Huddersfield and West Brom in what has been a much delayed 2019/20 campaign, and neither know exactly what division they’ll be playing in next season.
West Brom still just about have matters in their own hands to try and gain a Premier League spot ahead of chasing Brentford, whilst Huddersfield have a three-point gap above the drop zone, plus the possible cushion of knowing Wigan and/or Sheffield Wednesday could be docked points, as well.
Terriers boss Danny Cowley however is adamant that he wants his side to avoid relegation by themselves on the pitch, and not to rely on the misfortunes of others. The issue with that is they’ve been experiencing some misfortunes of their own of late, most notable a lack of goals. It is four in a row without one, but three of those did at least finish 0-0. If you can’t score, then don’t concede, and the Cowley brothers do set up their teams excellently in that regard.
It is a pretty clear remit for WBA and this is a match that they really need to be winning. They just can’t simply rely on Brentford dropping points, and it just doesn’t look like happening any time soon. Slaven Bilic’s side have drew back-to-back games which has cut their top two spot come under threat, but they’ve only lost once in seven since the resumption, which ironically came away at Brentford.
Whilst we’ve touched upon Huddersfield having some problems scoring, it certainly isn’t for a late of trying. Anyone who watched the Sheffield Wednesday game in midweek will know that they had the better of the match in relation to chances created.
Frazier Campbell had the best of those in the second half, and Cowley has spoken of the need for others to chip in when main-man Karlan Ahearne-Grant isn’t firing on all cylinders. He has 18 of Huddersfield’s 49 Championship goals this season, but none in four, and his last two goals were both penalties. Tactics will be key in this game, and I see this being a case of Huddersfield being happy to sit off and not allow West Brom to counter attack as they wish.
I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised to see Huddersfield do a job here and maybe even nick the win potentially. I won’t be touched the outright markets for that reason, plus West Brom are odds-on and I never touch an odds-on shot as the away team in the Championship. That being said, they do have the best away record in the division and have won ten of 15 away games when favourites.
Huddersfield have a cause in that they’re playing to avoid relegation, plus West Brom will undoubtedly be feeling the nerves to a degree knowing they were comfortable in the top two, and that’s no longer the case. They’ve won just once in four away, albeit in tough fixtures, but there is just a doubt in my mind about backing them.
I’m going to stick to the cards and goalscorers markets for this one. I personally don’t think this is a high-stakes sort of game given there is so much on the line, but there are a few nice little angles we can look at.
The first is the fact that Huddersfield do struggle quite badly at defensive set pieces. They are second in the league in relation to goals conceded via this route, and West Brom are in the top five for goals scored.
Watching West Brom against Fulham the other day we’ll have seen that their centre backs regularly got on the end of corners and should have probably scored on one of those opportunities. Therefore, I think anytime goalscorer bets on Semi Ajayi at 9/1 (888) and Ahmed Hegazi at 12/1 (William Hill) just makes sense at those prices especially.
We’ll have a little play on the bookings markets too and Lewis O’Brien is someone who is likely to have a specific job in the Cowley tactics book in this one. He is very much the legs in midfield and a real box-to-box type who certainly gets stuck in. 9/4 (Bet365) on him being booked isn’t a huge price, but he has 10 yellows already and that’s factored into the price.
Finally, I just think a play on Matheus Pereira To Be Booked at 4/1 (Bet365) is a worthwhile play. The TV cameras spotted him in the Fulham game certainly overreacted to a brush on his head from an opponent, and I just feel the officials will be keeping an eye on him here for any playacting and the like. Only four other WBA players have more yellows this season, so he does have a bit of a temper on him, too.
Huddersfield v West Brom – Semi Ajayi to score at anytime (9/1 888)
Huddersfield v West Brom – Ahmed Hegazi to score at anytime (12/1 William Hill)
Huddersfield v West Brom – Lewis O’Brien to be carded (9/4 Bet365)
Huddersfield v West Brom – Matheus Pereira to be carded (4/1 Bet365)