West Brom vs Wolves | Monday 3rd May 2021, 18:00 | Sky Sports
12th February, 2012 is a date etched on many a West Brom fans mind. It is the day that Albion travelled to their local rivals, won 5-1 and removed any lingering thoughts of a relegation battle. Mick McCarthy was subsequently sacked as Wolves manager and the Molineux outfit failed to win any of their remaining 13 league matches while the Baggies went on to finish 10th in the table.
I say all this as tonight offers an opportunity for Wolves to get some measure of revenge. A defeat will mean that West Brom are 11 points from safety with just four games to go and while only the most delusional/optimistic Albion fan believes that Premier League football is realistic next season, no one wants Wolves to bring the trap door any closer.
The bookies have this as a pick ‘em game, which surprises me a little based on performances over the season. However, Albion have definitely improved since Sam Allardyce was able to bring the likes of Mbaye Diagne, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Okay Yokuslu to the club.
Wolves come in to this game off the back of a 4-0 loss to Burnley and the fact that their last three victories – against Leeds, Sheffield United and Fulham – were by a goal to nil gives me little confidence that they can give any backers a comfortably evening.
With the match odds ruled out, I had a look at the anytime goalscorer markets and a couple of West Brom players stood out. Matheus Pereira has nine goals in 29 matches this season, including four in his last four and odds of 3/1 do appeal.
However, it is Mbaye Diagne that I like the look of in this market. Diagne may only have two goals in his 13 appearances but his xG in that time period is 5.21, he’s had a goal wrongly disallowed, another taken off him by the dubious goals panel and has been the victim of several excellent saves (and some woeful misses).
Simply put, I think he will get the chances to make the 3/1 with SkyBet look like an excellent price and I am happy to take this option up.
Elsewhere, news that Paul Tierney is refereeing this encounter led me to the bookings markets. Tierney averages four yellow cards per game this season, up significantly on the league average of 2.89. Wolves have few players who have persistent offenders, while Albion have two players topping the market…
Okay Yokuslu is 5/2 to be booked and given that the Turkish international has three cautions in 11 games for Albion that looks like a fair price.
However, it is market leader Conor Gallagher that I will side with. Gallagher has nine bookings in 25 games this term, which makes the 2/1 with SkyBet seem like good value, especially with Tierney in the middle. Gallagher loves a tackle and Wolves have plenty of pace breaking from midfield and I can see Tierney adding him to his notebook as the game gets stretched.