When Albion left the Etihad with a point just six weeks ago, any sense of achievement was quickly overshadowed by the dismissal of Slaven Bilić and only in the past ten days has the club started to recover from those tumultuous few days. For City, it was also a turning point, so much so that they have won every single match since reaching a League Cup final, the fifth round of the FA Cup and moving to within two points of the top of the table with a game in hand. The have conceded just three goals in that run of ten successive victories, scoring twenty five.
It’s a daunting task for Sam Allardyce’s team as they look to produce another positive performance ahead of the crucial games against Fulham and Sheffield United. Having said that, Albion have produced some of their best displays this season against the bigger clubs earning points against Chelsea, City and Liverpool and losing narrowly to Manchester United and Spurs. A point at the Hawthorns on Tuesday would, of course, be a massive bonus.
Allardyce will be able to welcome Robert Snodgrass back to his squad, while Karlan Grant has made a speedy recovery from his broken foot and could also be involved. Conor Townsend is back training but will not be involved in this match, while Diangana is not back on the turf just yet.
With both Gallagher and Snodgrass available for the first time, it will interesting to see what the midfield make up will be. Many Albion fans will be expecting Romaine Sawyers to be given a rest – his passing accuracy was back up above 90% for the West Ham game, but his influence on the game was still limited and his out-of-possession lapses remain an issue.
Allardyce has even more options with the return to fitness of Sam Field – it would be a huge surprise to see him come into the team straight away, but many see him as Albion’s only genuine defensive midfielder and he must at least be in Big Sam’s thoughts.
Karlan Grent’s availability gives Allardyce a decision to make up top, but I do wonder whether Hal Robson-Kanu may get a run out in this match given his ability to hold up the ball better than Albion’s other strikers, perhaps with Robinson operating wider.
Whatever the players or formation, it will be an incredibly difficult task for the Baggies. City look to be back to their imperious best and anything other than an away win will be a surprise.
As we know, however, football is a funny old game.