Peterborough vs West Brom | Saturday 28th August 2021, 20:00 | Sky Sports
High-flying West Brom face a potentially tricky looking trip to Peterborough on Saturday night as they look to maintain their unbeaten start to the Championship campaign. The Posh at least didn’t have a midweek cup tie to contend with, meaning they’ve had a full week of preparation going into this tough encounter, whilst a much-changed Baggies appeared in the Carabao Cup versus Arsenal on Wednesday.
For as much as Peterborough have suffered some heavy losses in league and cup in the opening month of the season, four points from four league games on paper at least looks a decent return from Darren Ferguson’s side.
Naturally, they themselves will feel they could have done a lot better, as comprehensive setbacks to Luton and Plymouth, as well as squandering a 2-0 home lead in drawing with Cardiff means they’ll have some regrets. Being outsiders for this one won’t be no bad thing this weekend, although Peterborough always play to win, so they won’t be looking for a draw in this one, regardless if that’d be a good outcome or not.
A disrupted pre-season is certainly one plausible reason for why Ferguson’s men have endured an indifferent period of results. Covid played havoc, whilst injuries to the likes of star forwards Jonson Clarke-Harris, Jack Marriott and Siriki Dembélé, as well as influential midfield Jack Taylor meant they went into the opening clash with Luton under-prepared.
Key centre back Mark Beevers also sat out the narrow defeat to Preston last Saturday, and this small squad has certainly been tested, and continues to be so.
There are no such issues on that front for West Brom. Whilst on paper they probably don’t have the depth of say a Fulham, they are packed with quality from top to bottom. The majority of regular starters were given the night off against Arsenal in midweek, but losing defender Matt Clarke for around six weeks due to injury is a problem Valérien Ismaël is a problem he could have done without, although he does have good cover in the form of Semi Ajayi or Cédric Kipré.
Having said that, one concern for their relatively new manager is one clean sheet in four in their opening league contests. The team have conceded the fewest shots on target per game in the league so far, so perhaps they’ve been a little unlucky the opposition have been clinical in front of goal. Then again, on the flip side, they went into this weekend as top scorers in the division.
Certainly a big part to their success so far is the central midfield combination of Jake Livermore and Alex Mowatt, who have clicked seamlessly since Mowatt followed his manager from Barnsley over the summer. So much so, they allowed Romaine Sawyers to join Stoke on loan. Both teams will line-up in similar formations, and so the midfielder battle will be key in the outcome to this one.
For as much as Peterborough have an attacking mentality, that is not reflected in the numbers. Only Swansea have averaged fewer shots on goal per game, whilst WBA went into this weekend joint-first alongside Coventry in that particular statistic. This is despite West Brom averaging only 43.1% possession, with only four teams managing a lesser figure.
Peterborough could really struggle to break their opponents down with them happy to get behind the ball when required, whilst still adopting a high pressing game. My fear is that West Brom could really school Peterborough in this one.
The absolute bet of the weekend comes in the form of a bet-builder of West Brom to win and Over 1 West Brom goal at 21/20 (Bet365). This was 6/5 a few days ago when I drafted this article so I’m a bit gutted we don’t get the bigger price! I just don’t see how this doesn’t come in.
Albion have too much going forward in the form of Callum Robinson, Karlan Grant, Matt Phillips and Grady Diangana to cause problems for a Posh side not showcasing too much defensive naivety in their opening clashes. Anyhow, West Brom have netted 2+ goals in all four league fixtures this season, against stronger opposition than they’ll face this weekend.
I don’t normally like going against Peterborough at home as this is ultimately where they’ll get most of their points this season, but West Brom already look like a Premier League team in all but name once again.
Peterborough v West Brom – West Brom to Win and Over 1 West Brom Goal (21/20 Bet365)