Slaven Bilic’s West Brom nightmare could be set to continue as the Baggies face a tough trip to Manchester City in the Premier League this evening.
Plenty of reports have emerged over the past few weeks suggesting that the Croatian’s job at the Hawthorns is merely hanging by a thread, so Albion are left with a tough ask in defeating Pep Guardiola’s lethal-looking side.
Last time out, the Midlands outfit suffered defeat – again – as former loan star Dwight Gayle piled on further misery with a late winner at Newcastle United whilst City drew to arch-rivals Manchester United in a dull affair.
Bilic has suspensions and injuries to contend with too, so what sort of line-up could we see at the Etihad Stadium tonight?
Here’s the XI we’re predicting…
Bilic could make as many as three changes as he looks to guide his side away from the relegation zone.
We know that the influential Matheus Pereira is absent as he serves the second of a three-game suspension whilst the Baggies will also be without central defender Kyle Bartley once again through injury. Conor Townsend is sidelined long-term too.
Between the sticks, WBA no.1 Sam Johnstone will remain, but he could see a back four rather than a back five in front of him this time around.
Kieran Gibbs returns to the side at left-back with Semi Ajayi and Dara O’Shea the pairing in the middle. It means Branislav Ivanovic is axed after a few disappointing showings whilst Darnell Furlong keeps his place at right-back.
The £38k-per-week veteran really should be doing better considering his experience in the top-flight, winning the Premier League twice with Chelsea.
We could finally see the return of club captain Jake Livermore in midfield as he partners Filip Krovinovic and Conor Gallagher. Both start in the place of Romaine Sawyers, who is dropped.
Matty Phillips has impressed at wing-back in recent matches and keeps his spot but will be deployed on the right flank with Callum Robinson getting the nod over Grady Diangana on the other side.
Finally, there could be a surprise inclusion for veteran striker Charlie Austin. He replaced Karlan Grant at half-time against Newcastle and may be given a shock chance to impress with the £13m-rated summer signing struggling to make an impact thus far.