ALEX JONES (@AlexJ0nes9) analyses the odds as West Brom and Harrogate lock horns in the second round of the League Cup on Wednesday night.
West Brom vs Harrogate | Wednesday 16th September 2020, 18:00 | Sky Sports
West Brom will be looking to immediately bounce back after a comfortable defeat at home to Leicester in their Premier League opener at the weekend. The Baggies face EFL newcomers Harrogate Town in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, who couldn’t have had adapted better with a 4-0 victory over Southend in their own curtain-raiser.
Albion looked stubborn defensively in the first half against the Foxes but they gave away two avoidable penalties and left themselves too much to do in the second period. They will face easier matches than Leicester, of course, but the warning signs are there for Slaven Bilic. The signing of Branislav Ivanovic will help the Baggies tactically in defence but he won’t play a part here.
The Premier League hosts should have the quality to beat the Sulphurites on Wednesday evening, with WBA going off at as little as 1/4. I think Bilic will revert back to his trusted 4-2-3-1 for this, after shifting to three-at-the-back against Leicester, mainly to stifle Jamie Vardy’s influence on the game.
To a certain extent it worked, despite Vardy notching two penalties, but Bilic will focus on their game plan here rather than adapting to suit the visitors. I’m sure the Baggies will come out all guns blazing and get the tie wrapped up early doors. This leads me on to my only bet for this encounter at The Hawthorns – West Brom to Score In Both Halves and West Brom Over 1.5 Corners In Each Half (9/5 Betfair).
Bilic cannot afford to lose this one and if he were to ring the changes the sides fluidity and confidence may be hindered. This is a great opportunity to build that confidence and some momentum heading into their Premier League campaign.
We saw with Aston Villa on Tuesday night, despite conceding early, that a good result and performance will raise the spirits in the dressing room and settle everyone down nicely.
Albion are going off so short that I will swerve any outright prices and back them to score in both halves. If they bring in Kamil Grosicki on the wing, and perhaps play Grady Diangana down the left and revert to their 4-2-3-1 formation which saw them promoted last season, we should see WBA rack up the corners when attacking. The same bet is as short as 13/10 with Bet365 so we are getting a value price with Betfair.
For Harrogate, they will relish the opportunity to play at a Premier League ground, but this should be a bridge too far. They defeated Tranmere on penalties in the first round and their win at the weekend has only increased the atmosphere around the club. Town boss Sean Weaver may even select the same starting XI here, though Jon Stead may be knocking on the door for a start.
There is little to no pressure on Harrogate who are in dreamland at present, scoring four goals at the weekend albeit against relegation-threatened Southend. They were the dominant side as well, having 15 shots to Southend’s 7, but they did still concede five corners.
I’m having one point on this selection as West Brom’s team news is key. If Bilic were to field a very strong XI, then the odds will likely slash on this one so I would place this early and cash out at 5pm if you don’t fancy West Brom to do the business.
Last season, West Brom lost in the first round to Millwall, but Bilic still played Diangana, Kyle Edwards and Charlie Austin at the top of the pitch, and even three of the five defenders who played against Leicester last Sunday. You’d also imagine fringe players such as Hal Robson-Kanu and Goriscki to play a part.
Even so, the Baggies should have too much for League Two outfit Harrogate and could give us a run for our money with our only selection for this televised match.
West Brom vs Harrogate – West Brom to Score In Both Halves and West Brom Over 1.5 Corners In Each Half (9/5 Betfair)