West Brom-Sunderland: Black Cats must cut out the set-pieces
The Hawthorns has regularly been a graveyard to Sunderland teams.
A Black Cats win in this part of the West Midlands is like gold-dust, Big Sam came a cropper here on his debut 12 months ago.
Today will tough, very tough. Not only are West Brom smarting from a pasting at Tottenham last week, they are very much in-form at home.
And their capacity for set-piece goals is a chilling statistic.
Tony Pulis’s powerful side have scored 28 league goals with 12 from free-kicks and corners. The Black Cats figures are 20-1 in comparison.
When Hull were blitzed 3-1 in their last league match at the Hawthorns, two of the three home goals came via corners delivered deep by Matt Phillips to the heads of Chris Brunt and Gareth McAuley.
The Northern Ireland defenders are both threats but the Sunderland rearguard must also beware Soloman Rondon who recently bagged that rare feat of a hat-trick of headers when Swansea were also thumped 3-1.
Brunt is good with his head and left foot but Phillips is the man with the magic boot – the £5.5million summer signing from QPR has Phillips now has eight assists in the top flight with only Man City’s Kevin de Bruyne having more.
The Baggies might not have the home record of Chelsea and Burnley but they have a knack of sweeping aside lesser opponents convincingly.
West Brom have won four of their last five league fixtures, scoring 13 goals in the process.