West Brom will hope for a new manager bounce when they host local rivals Aston Villa for a huge West Midlands derby on Sunday.
The Baggies battled to an impressive 1-1 draw with Man City on Tuesday, but still decided to sack manager Slaven Bilic the following day.
He left newly promoted West Brom 19th in the table, with just one win, four draws and eight defeats from 13 games.
Replacement Sam Allardyce has been tasked with saving the club from the drop, and Big Sam has never suffered relegation in his career, so he could be a shrewd signing for the Baggies.
A Monumental Task
He certainly has a lot of work to do. West Brom are lumbered with the worst defensive record in the Premier League, having conceded 26 goals already this season.
Only Burnley and Sheff Utd have scored fewer goals than West Brom, so they are struggling at both ends of the pitch.
They invested very little in the squad during the summer, and they have felt the consequences of their parsimony.
Yet Allardyce does have some interesting raw materials to work with. Star man Matheus Pereira is suspended, but Grady Diangana, Matt Phillips and Callum Robinson provide quality in wide areas and Jake Livermore anchors the midfield well.
West Brom are quick and purposeful on the break, and Allardyce should make them better organised and harder to break down in defence, so we should see an improvement in their performance levels.
The Benefit of Rest
Aston Villa represent difficult opposition. They are 11th in the table, despite playing fewer games than any other team this season.
Dean Smith’s men are in action tonight against Burnley, and that should be a bruising encounter.
They have pulled off fine wins against Wolves and Arsenal in recent weeks, but they have also lost to West Ham, Brighton and Southampton, so they are by no means infallible.
West Brom will be much fresher for this game, having had an extra two days’ rest, and the arrival of Allardyce could give the squad fresh impetus, so the Baggies could well get a result on Sunday.
Tip: West Brom-draw double chance
Stake: One unit