Preview - Blackburn Rovers v West Bromwich Albion
23 January 2011
Following the disappointment of missing out on the signing of John Carew West Brom travel to Ewood Park in need of a boost.
The Baggies lost the reverse of this fixture over the Christmas period by three goals to one, it was a game in which they were poor and that showed up their frailty from set pieces. The introduction of Jonas Olsson to the centre of defence as well as pushing Paul Scharner back into midfield should improve Albion's defending and also add to their own threat from dead ball situations.
This is surely a game that Blackburn feel that they should win and they will propel themselves up the table if they manage to bag all three points. However, Albion will also see it as an opportunity to put some daylight between themselves and the clubs at the bottom, Wigan, Wolves and West Ham all dropped points in their Saturday games.
If West Brom want to win this game it would help if they could manage to keep a clean sheet, something they haven't done since the first home game of the season against Sunderland. That was striker Peter Odemwingie's first game for Albion and he managed to score the winner as he did against Blackpool last week. The Nigerian striker will be hoping to add to his tally against Rovers having suffered a lean time over Christmas.
This is a crucial game and the Baggies will feel that a win here will set them up nicely for the home game against Wigan a week on Tuesday.
Jonas Olsson's thoughts:
"We're still on course for our goal of staying up.
e haven't been in the bottom three all season, apart from after the first game.
t is an important month ahead. The Blackpool win was so good because we beat one of our main rivals and those are the games we need to win. It is very, very nice to win at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal - it was a great feeling but it is more important we win against teams like Blackpool, West Ham, Wigan and Blackburn. There are five teams really involved in the race for the title and everyone else is really close together. It would be a good month to kick on and rise above the other teams a little bit.'
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
New signing Jermaine Jones is set for his debut. Steven Nzonzi (groin) is a doubt. Phil Jones (knee), and Keith Andrews and Vince Grella (both groin) are unavailable. Brett Emerton is on Asian Cup duty with Australia but Martin Olsson returns to the squad.
Player to watch: Nikola Kalinic
Kalinic was the man that did the damage at the Hawthorns before being sent off. The Baggies will have to keep a close eye on him.
West Bromwich Albion Team News:
Graham Dorrans is a doubt having twisted his ankle in training but Jonas Olsson makes his long awaited return to the Premier League following his achilles injury.
Player to watch: Jonas Olsson
Olsson influnece on the defence cannot be underestimated. If he plays well then Albion will not lose.
Match Facts & Stats
Form guide (last six league matches)
Mark Clattenburg is the man in charge.
2-1 in favour of the Baggies.
1st February sees the visit of Wigan to the Hawthorns when Albion will be looking to avenge the 1-0 defeat of earlier in the season.