On Monday night, West Bromwich Albion take on rivals Aston Villa at The Hawthorns, but it is vital for the side to continue to build on the Chelsea performance last time out.
It is important for Albion not to take their foot of the pedal, as they look to drive their way up the table. Villa sit just one place behind the Baggies and are coming off an impressive 2-0 home victory against Cardiff, so they will be filled with confidence.
Star striker Christian Benteke is a doubt for the game after picking up an injury whilst on international duty for Belgium, but West Brom must be wary of Libor Kozák, who scored in last weekend’s win.
The six-foot three Czech Republic striker has a great ariel presence, and is always looking to bring others into play. West Brom must be careful to not get caught on the counter attack as the Villa side have bags of pace, with the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann on either wing.
If West Brom are to come away with all three points, they must exploit the wide areas, something they done so well in previous games. Aston Villa like to incorporate a 4-3-3 formation, leaving the wider areas of the midfield exposed, so an overlapping wing back could be given plenty of space if one of the forward three doesn’t track back.
Billy Jones has the potential to be a match winner for Albion if he can keep his winger under control and get forward at the right times, to exploit the space. His driving runs into the box and vision from the right hand side will give West Brom a different attacking option and cause Villa problems all afternoon.
Against Cardiff, none of Paul Lamberts men were aged above 30, so experience could prove to be another vital component for West Brom. Stéphane Sessègnon, Victor Anichebe, Jonas Olsson and Yousouff Mulumbu will have to show their Premier League pedigree to take charge of the match, to dictate the tempo of the game.
Last time out at The Hawthorns Aston Villa grabbed a two goal lead by half time so it is important that West Brom make a strong start to the match to avoid a repeat. Villa have only managed to keep 3 clean sheets in their last 39 games, so West Brom should find the back of the net during the game against a leaky defence.
If Albion remain tight at the back and exploit the space down the width of the pitch, they should come away with the win. An open attacking game would favour Villa, but Steve Clarke’s men have looked strong as of late so a home win and bragging rights across the midlands should be on the cards until they meet again on the 28th of January.