Saturday will see the first league meeting between Albion and Bournemouth since the Baggies’ promotion season from the third tier in 1992/1993. At the Cherries’ helm that season was a youthful Tony Pulis in his first managerial position, having been promoted from player/coach in 1992 when Harry Redknapp left the south coast to join West Ham United.
Albion did the double over Bournemouth that season with David Speedie scoring the only goal at Dean Court in January 1993 but, when Albion next travelled to the holiday resort for an FA Cup third round tie six years later, the hosts were victorious with none other than current manager, Eddie Howe, scoring the only goal of the game.
This will be just the 16th meeting between the sides, the 11th in the league but the first in the top flight. The Cherries have never managed to win at the Hawthorns with the Baggies winning four of the six encounters at the Shrine.
Bournemouth travel to the Black Country on a high after back-to-back victories against Chelsea and Manchester United, but they remain one place and four points behind Albion in the Premier League table. Albion, on the other hand, have drawn their last three games and will view the clash with a newly promoted side as a good chance to bag a victory.
Bournemouth have a lengthy injury list including stars Callum Wilson and Tyrone Mings. Max Gradel and Tommy Elphick are also definitely out which there are doubts over Josh King, Christian Atsu and Lee Tomlin.
Other than Ben Foster, Stéphane Sessègnon is Albion’s only injury doubt, but there is a chance that the Benin international could make a return.
Eddie Howe managed to get the better over Pulis in the Capital One Cup last season, but with a first choice side out, I’m not sure that he will do it again. Bournemouth’s expansive style will lave gaps at the back, and if Albion defend as they normally do, I can’t see the Cherries breaking through too often. I doubt it will be a goal fest, but I fancy the Baggies to give their fans an early Christmas present and take the points.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
28 Oct 2014 – League Cup 4th Round
AFC Bournemouth 2 (O’Kane, Wilson)
West Brom 1 (Elphick (o.g.))
Last meeting at the Hawthorns
14 Aug 2007 – League Cup 1st Round
West Brom 1 (Beattie)
AFC Bournemouth 0
23 Aug 2011 – League Cup 2nd Round
AFC Bournemouth 1 (Lovell)
West Brom 4 (Thomas, Fortuné (2), Cox)
Albion’s Record against AFC Bournemouth