Preview: West Brom v Manchester City

West Bromwich Albion welcome a wounded Manchester City to the Hawthorns on Saturday, hoping to inflict more misery on the struggling Premier League leaders.

Premier League
29 October 2016
Match Day 10
Kick-off: 22H00 HKT
Venue: The Hawthorns

Referee: Lee Mason
Assistants: S Ledger, I Hussin
Fourth official: M Dean

Head-to-head summary:

West Bromwich Albion 123 46 21 56
Manchester City 123 56 21 46

Previous encounter:

Manchester City 2-1 West Bromwich Albion 09/04/16 (Premier League)

Manchester City goalscorers: S. Aguero (PG 19′), S. Nasri (66′)
West Bromwich Albion goalscorers: S. Sessegnon (6′)

West Bromwich Albion welcome a wounded Manchester City to the Hawthorns on Saturday, hoping to inflict more misery on the struggling Premier League leaders.

Players to watch:

Nacer Chadli has gone a long way to justifying his club-record transfer fee of £13 million, after signing from Tottenham at the beginning of the season.

The Belgian attacker netted four times in six games and continues to impress alongside Salomon Rondon, who has weighed in with a further three goals.

Kelechi Iheanacho has shined the brightest for City all season and continues to belie his age during this testing time. He has scored four important goals this term already, including a second-half equaliser against Southampton last week after coming on as a substitute.

Team form and manager quotes:

West Brom have been scrapping for points all season and come into this match on the back of a narrow 2-1 loss to Liverpool following three draws that included holding Tottenham to a 1-1 stalemate at home.

The Baggies last won against West Ham in September but their steady upward trajectory over the past few seasons has been enough for the club to reward manager Tony Pulis with a contract extension.

After signing his new one-year extension on Friday, Pulis said: “This is a time of great change at Albion and when that happens you need continuity.

“I want to build things here and play my part in improving the club. You cannot do these things overnight but I do believe, step by step, we are making advances.

“I think the bulk of our fans understand the process we embarked upon under the shadow of relegation less than two years ago.”

And leading up to the City encounter, he added: “We’ve got one or two knocks and niggles that we won’t be sure about tomorrow.I don’t want to say any names.

“Pep will be bringing his first team to the Hawthorns so it should make for compelling viewing.”

Manchester City, meanwhile, strangely enough visit the Hawthorns top of the Premier League but without a win in six matches.

Guardiola started his Eastlands tenure in impressive fashion with maximum points from their first six league games before the wheels started to come loose.

A 3-3 draw with Celtic in the Champions League ahead of a 2-0 loss to Tottenham started the rot, and City have yet to recover, as they were held to two 1-1 draws, by Everton and Southampton in the league, while there was also the small matter of a 4-0 trouncing by Barcelona and their elimination by city rivals Manchester United in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

Guardiola, who has been fiercely defending his playing philosophy during a trying few weeks, says his team will “have to adapt” for their visit to West Brom.

He said: “Many things have changed in the last six games. In the beginning we were winning and now we’re not. But, we are fighting, like we were in the beginning.”

He added: “Congratulations to Tony on his new contract. West Brom use Pulis’ style marvellously. I saw against Tottenham, they use the long ball and they defend low. We have to adapt.

“For the players, they don’t deserve this. We are in this period like it is but it will make us stronger in the future, I am sure about that.

“I need time to learn, to improve. I’m still in that process. We have to learn as quickly as possible.”

Team news:

Jonny Evans is available for West Brom after serving a one-match ban but Claudio Yacob is suspended after picking up five yellow cards. James McClean, meanwhile, has recovered from a leg injury but Saido Berahino is ruled out for selection due to a lack of fitness.

For City, Bacary Sagna is sidelined with a hamstring injury, while Kevin De Bruyne faces a late fitness test as he bids to overcome a calf injury.

Pablo Zabaleta comes back into contention after missing the last two games with a foot injury while Vincent Kompany is fit and available to start after he was taken off at half-time against Man Utd due to a lack of fitness.

And while Fabian Delph bids to overcome a muscle injury, 19-year-old Pablo Maffeo could be set for his Premier League debut after impressing in the EFL Cup defeat in midweek. He made his first start for City against Steaua Bucharest earlier in the season.