Baggies test their mettle against the table-toppers

Burnley v West Bromwich Albion; Turf Moor, Friday 20th January 2023, 8pm

Carlos Corberán’s Baggies face their toughest test yet as they travel to Lancashire on Friday evening to take on the Championship’s runaway leaders, Burnley.

Following relegation from the Premier League at the end of the last campaign, the powers that be at Turf Moor opted to take the club in a very different direction to the one that had been followed under Sean Dyche before his dismissal in April. The appointment of Vincent Kompany has led to a complete change in style to a passing and possession-based game and the results are more than matching those achieved by Dyche in his last Championship season in 2015/16. Dyche’s team had 48 points from 27 games that year, 11 points fewer than Kompany’s side have amassed at the same stage of the current campaign.

Burnley are the only team who can match Albion’s record of 27 points from the last 30 available, but the Clarets’ impressive form dates pretty much from the start of the season. They have lost just twice in the league this season, at Sheffield United and Watford, and they remain unbeaten at home and have won their last eight league matches at Turf Moor. Stoke City were the last team to take anything away from that particular corner of Lancashire when they earned a draw in early October. Since then, Kompany’s team have dropped just four points in fifteen league games.

The two clubs appeared to be relatively well matched when they met at the Hawthorns in early September, although it took a stoppage-time debut goal from Brandon Thomas-Asante for Albion to earn a point, albeit it was well-deserved. Burnley have gone from strength to strength since then while the Baggies have experienced some more troubled times. Now, however, both sides are in fantastic form and it should be an intriguing encounter.

Kompany suffered a blow last week when Manchester City loanee, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, suffered a foot injury that will keep him out of the side for a couple of months. The English U21 international had developed a solid partnership in central defence with Jordan Beyer and his absence will be a big loss. In their last league game, the 1-0 win over Coventry City, left-back Charlie Taylor moved into central defence but a new centre-back is now available with the signing of Iraqi youngster Ameen Al-Dakhil who joined just a day before the Sky Blues match. He is the latest of a series of signings from Belgian football undoubtedly inspired by Kompany’s knowledge of his home market which include Brazilian defender, Vitinho, and Belgian-born wingers Anass Zaroury and Manuel Benson.

The familiar figure of Jay Rodriguez remains up top for the Clarets and he is the club’s top scorer in the Championship with nine although the aforementioned duo of Zaroury and Benson also have nine goals apiece, albeit those include strikes in cup competitions, while Nathan Tella has eight goals in the current campaign.

Burnley certainly are a potent attacking force but they face one of the meanest defences in the Championship on current form, notwithstanding the two goals Albion conceded at Luton last weekend. The second string defence recorded a clean sheet against Chesterfield on Tuesday night, albeit they were perhaps a little fortunate to do so, and one would expect what has become the regular back four to be reinstalled on Friday night.

Further forward, Corberán has some decisions to make, however, with Brandon Thomas-Asante serving the last of his three match ban and Matt Phillips having picked up a thigh injury in his substitute appearance against Chesterfield.

Daryl Dike is likely to be asked to complete another ninety minutes on Friday but I wonder whether one of the young strikers who played on Tuesday, Jovan Malcolm or Reyes Cleary, might get a spot on the bench.

The absence of Phillips is at least partially mitigated by the return of Karlan Grant to full fitness having missed the last two games, and it would seem to be a straight choice between him and Grady Diangana for the spot as Phillips’ replacement.

I wouldn’t expect any other changes to the starting line up from the one that took to the field at Kenilworth Road last Saturday.

It is obviously a stern test for Corberán’s team but I am sure that Vincent Kompany and his staff will be viewing it in exactly the same way. Albion’s comeback at Luton will not only have given their own players a massive confidence boost, it will also have made their promotion rivals sit up and take notice. Few sides have found an answer to the problems posed by Kompany’s Burnley this season, but the same can be said of the Baggies under their new Spanish head coach.

While the Friday night kick off is inconvenient for the travelling fans, there can be few Championship observers who wouldn’t agree that Sky have picked the match of the weekend for live coverage. It should be an interesting spectacle.

Most Baggies fans are gaining confidence that a play-off spot is now well within their team’s reach this season, but catching the top two does seem something of a tall order. Win at Turf Moor, and perhaps that particular target would become slightly less impossible.


Albion’s last win over Burnley was in August 2017 when they fooled everyone by winning the first two games of a Premier League season for the first time, having already beaten Bournemouth on the opening day. The Baggies would, of course, go on to be relegated at the end of the season.

Hal Robson-Kanu was the goalscorer on that occasion as Tony Pulis’s team secured Albion’s first win at Turf Moor since a Jason Roberts double earned Gary Megson’s side a 2-0 win in February 2002.

That victory came after an even longer wait for a Baggies win at Burnley. 37 years earlier in February 1965, Ken Foggo’s goal was enough to secure the points for Jimmy Hagan’s Albion. It was a long wait between those wins but the two clubs didn’t meet between 1970, when the Clarets were relegated from Division One, and 1992 when the Baggies joined Burnley in the third tier.

Albion were fairly regular winners at Turf Moor before the sixties and won on three successive visits in the fifties, the first of which was their biggest ever win at Burnley. In September 1953, the side that were labelled the “Team of the Century” won 4-1 at Turf Moor thanks to goals from Ronnie Allen, Johnny Nicholls (2) and Reg Ryan – Roy Stephenson scored the hosts’ goal.

That result came just two years after Burnley’s record home victory over Albion. Billy Morris was the Clarets’ hero on that occasion has he scored four goals, two either side of an Albion goal from Arthur Smith. The hosts were already 2-0 up before Morris started his streak through strikes from Tony Hapgood and Bill Holden making the final score 6-1.

Stat Attack

Current Form

Albion W W W D W W
Burnley L W W W W W

All competitions; most recent game on the right

Last matches

Last meeting

2 Sep 2022 – League Championship
West Brom 1 (Thomas-Asante)
Burnley 1 (Rodriguez (pen))

Last meeting at Burnley

20 Feb 2021 – Premier League
Burnley 0
West Brom 0

Last win

19 Aug 2017 – Premier League
Burnley 0
West Brom 1 (Robson-Kanu)

Albion’s Record against Burnley

  Overall   Away
  P W D L F A   P W D L F A
League 131 55 31 45 216 183   65 20 17 28 82 112
FA Cup 3 1 1 1 8 6   1 0 0 1 1 3
Total 134 56 32 46 224 189   66 20 17 29 83 115

If you cannot see the tables, click here.

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