Albion Ambush Awaits Foxes

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West Bromwich Albion are expected to provide a stern test to top-four chasing Leicester City in the Premier League on Thursday.

Sam Allardyce

After reaching their first FA Cup final for 52 years at the weekend, Leicester City face being brought back to earth with a bump when they welcome West Brom to the King Power Stadium on Thursday evening.

The Foxes need to refocus quickly following their Wembley exploits as they turn their attention back towards the race for a top-four finish but won’t find that easy against an Albion side who have finally hit their stride under Sam Allardyce.

The all-midlands encounter comes between Wednesday’s double-header as Manchester City seek to get back on track when they visit Aston Villa, before Arsenal and Everton go head-to-head at the Emirates Stadium on Friday evening.

Goals on Tap in Leicester

Back-to-back wins have reignited a sense of belief at West Brom that they can still beat the drop, although with nine points currently separating themselves from safety, it still remains a tall order. With games running out, the Baggies can no longer afford to settle for anything other than wins and will have to go on the offensive at Leicester.

That tactic has paid off for them in recent matches, notching eight goals in their two victories, and the extra time Allardyce has had on the training ground to work with his squad in recent weeks is clearly paying off. Albion are now a fitter side than they were when ‘Big Sam’ took charge and with the extra rest they’ve had compared to Leicester, they can give Brendan Rodgers’ men a run for their money.

Leicester’s home form of late has been patchy, mixing three wins with three defeats in their previous six league outings at the King Power Stadium, while they haven’t beaten West Brom on their own patch in their last nine attempts. Albion/draw double chance at 6/4 is therefore a tempting option, as is the 20/21 on over 2.5 goals given West Brom’s new-found attacking prowess.

Nine of Leicester’s 15 home games this season have featured over 2.5 goals and attack seems the best form of defence for them at the moment as they have kept just two clean sheets in their last 10 matches.

City Back on Title Trail

Manchester City’s unlikely dream of a quadruple was ended by defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday but they should quickly get over that disappointment when they visit Aston Villa. City are closing in on a third Premier League title of the Pep Guardiola era, thanks in part to having won every away game they have played since mid-December.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola

The Citizens have kept clean sheets in seven of their last 11 on the road and look good value at 1/1 to secure a win to zero at Villa. The hosts are still without talisman Jack Grealish, while another of their key attacking options, Trezquet, has also gone down with a knee injury.

Without Grealish, the Villans have drawn blanks in three of their last six matches and it is difficult to see them breaking down the best defence in the league. With European qualification now likely beyond Dean Smith’s side after a run of one win in six, this should prove a slightly easier trip for City than it could have been.

Everton to End Losing Emirates Run

Much like Villa, Arsenal and Everton could struggle to qualify for Europe via the league, although a win for either on Friday night would keep those dreams alive. The Gunners appear to have put all their eggs in the Europa League basket, winning two of the last six in the Premier League. They narrowly avoided a home loss to Fulham last time out and could be without both of their senior strikers, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (illness) and Alexandre Lacazette (injury) for this game.

Everton turned Arsenal over in the reverse fixture but have a rotten record in north London, losing their last six at the Emirates Stadium. They are odds-on to go down to defeat again and head into this match winless in five. However, their away form has been strong all year, winning nine of 15 matches on the road, and they were the better side for large periods at home to Tottenham in their last outing when drawing 2-2.

At 3/1 for the away win, the Toffees look overpriced and it is worth taking a chance on them to see off an Arsenal side with other things on their mind.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Chris is broadcast and written journalist with a wealth of experience, across a number of different sports. As well covering football on the radio, he is a regular online and print contributor on the likes of rugby union, American Football and Formula One.

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