West Brom – Aston Villa: Historic rivals West Brom and Aston Villa meet for the first time since the 2018-19 Championship playoffs when they tangle Sunday in a West Midlands Derby at the Hawthorns (Start time, 2:15 pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)
Villa beat West Brom over two legs in the high stakes 2018-19 Football League Championship playoffs, the last meeting of the two. West Brom won promotion the following year.
West Brom has just changed managers, hiring Sam Allardyce to replace Slaven Bilic following the Baggies’ 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
The Baggies are three points back of 17th-place Burnley, while Villa’s 19 points are 10 clear of the bottom three and five back of the top four.
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Here’s everything you need to know ahead of West Brom – Aston Villa, a rivalry that dates back 138 years and eight days to Dec. 9, 1882, a 3-3 draw in front of just under 14,000 fans.
Team news (INJURY REPORT)
OUT: Trezeguet (hamstring), Wesley (knee), Ross Barkley (thigh), Ezri Konsa (illness)
OUT: Conor Townsend (knee), Matheus Pereira (suspension), Kyle Bartley (calf), QUESTIONABLE: Sam Field (knee), Hal Robson-Kanu (wrist)
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) December 20, 2020
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) December 20, 2020
What they’re saying ahead
Sam Allardyce on trying to save West Brom: “I’m hungrier than ever. I’ve never been so refreshed and eager. I’ve never had such a long break, it will have been three years in May. This break went on so long I had lots of pent-up energy, and I need to expend it. I’ve missed this so much. Sometimes I go into a club and think ‘Have I done the right thing?’, but it’s all about striving for success. It’s that thrill of trying to get a team out onto the pitch and win. Most managers get in when the team they are going into is in a struggle. I can accept the sack if I deserve it and I’m very bitter if I don’t deserve it. More often than not I haven’t deserved it.”
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith on Thursday’s 0-0 draw with Burnley: “My only concern was that we didn’t work the goalkeeper enough. There was some great movement to get us into those positions. We tweaked the shape today because of the way Burnley play and made four changes, so that tested us today. To get a performance like that, I can’t be disappointed. I’m disappointed with the result. The players are too because we had enough chances to win two or three games.”
Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)
Villa are -106 favorites to start Allardyce’s tenure on a down note, with a +265 draw viewed as only slightly more likely than a West Brom win at +260.
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West Brom – Aston Villa prediction
New manager bounce? Maybe, but Villa is vastly superior in talent and the Baggies have finished under one xG in every match but one this season (versus West Brom in their lone win). Too much Grealish at the Hawthorns, as Villa’s star has four assists in his last four derbies versus the Baggies. West Brom 0-2 Aston Villa.
How to watch West Brom – Aston Villa stream and start time
Kickoff: 2:15 pm ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com