West Brom manager Slaven Bilic faces a bit of a headache as to what to do with his starting line-up ahead of Saturday when the Baggies welcome Sheffield United to The Hawthorns.
Sheffield United are the only team below Albion in the Premier League with Chris Wilder’s side earning just one point from their opening nine matches.
In recent matches against teams not expected to pull up trees in the Premier League this season, Bilic has played a back-four in a 4-1-4-1 or 4-5-1 [WyScout]. But in the last two matches against Tottenham and Manchester United, Bilic has started with a 5-3-2.
Although the Baggies lost 1-0 to both Spurs and United, they were arguably two of the most encouraging performances of the season so far and there’s every chance the Baggies boss will stick with a back-three against the Blades this weekend.
Of course, it might be tempting to name a more attacking team but we believe that there’s a chance Bilic will stick with a back-five on Saturday but have wing-backs Darnell Furlong and Conor Townsend play more offensively while we may also see Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana form more of a front-three when in possession of the ball.
But, in essence, we predict that Bilic will name an unchanged starting line-up after the impressive performance at Old Trafford, which merited more than a point.
Sam Johnstone, who was the star of the show against Man United after a mishap led to Tottenham’s late winner before the international break, is expected to start in goals.
Albion’s back-three could consist of Semi Ajayi, Branislav Ivanovic and Kyle Bartley with Furlong and Townsend retaining their wing-back roles.
In the midfield, Jake Livermore could be available again if he’s completed his period in self-isolation in time but even if he can play, we think Bilic will stick with Romaine Sawyers in the deeper-lying roles with Conor Gallagher and Pereira slightly more advanced.
Up top, Diangana could play off Karlan Grant but the role of Diangana and Pereira are bound to be more rigid that what the above graphic shows.
In other West Brom news, some fans were blown away by one Baggies player against Man United.