EFL Championship News: Prediction: Bournemouth – West Brom

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Verdict: less than 2.5 goals

Best odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Unibet

With the 2021/22 championship campaign opening on Friday night, Bournemouth will welcome West Brom to what should be vibrant vitality.

Bournemouth

Starting with the hosts, coming out of the play-offs in the semi-finals against future Brentford winners in May, Bournemouth begins a new adventure on the south coast. Throwing away the advantage of the first leg in the capital and losing what many saw as a golden opportunity to book an immediate return to the Premier League, the Cherries are now under the leadership of new boss Scott Parker. Withstanding what has been a troubling end to the 2020/21 season and losing each of the last three regular season games, the former Fulham manager will ask his side to find some stability this year. Seeking to open their campaign with a real home turf statement, Bournemouth managed to gain perfect momentum this past weekend. With offensive talisman Dominic Solanke scoring three goals in their last four games, Parker’s new side have scored an impressive 5-0 against League One club MK Dons.

Team news

Continuing last season’s ban, Bournemouth will be without the duo of Chris Mepham and Jefferson Lerma on Friday night.

Likewise, Scott Parker’s new squad is expected to be free of Steve Cook and Jack Stacey through injury.

West Brom

As for the visitors, who lost Premier League status on their first try last season, West Brom are in a very similar position to their opponents on Friday. Both wagered as real contenders in this year’s promotion race, the Baggies open the 2021/22 season under the leadership of new boss Valérien Ismaël. With the former Crystal Palace defender leading Barnsley to what was a play-off shock, the Midlands side continued to impress during this summer’s pre-season run. Putting in a performance that would have filled them with real confidence, they managed to secure a landslide 4-0 win over local rivals and championship teammate Birmingham at St. Andrew’s. In fact, in addition to drawing 0-0 against Premier League re-entries Watford, Friday’s guests are unbeaten in all four pre-season games, keeping a clean sheet in each of those outings.

Team news

On the verge of completing a major move to Saudi Arabia, last year’s star Matheus Pereira will not appear on Friday night.

However, despite a series of speculations about his transfer, Sam Johnstone is expected to start in goal.

Key factors to consider

  • Bournemouth finished their pre-season preparations with a 5-0 win over MK Dons.
  • Similarly, West Brom signed their friendly run with a 4-0 away win against local rivals Birmingham.
  • However, including consecutive losses on the South Coast, the Baggies have failed to win any of their last four away games at Vitality.
  • West Brom have managed to score a clean sheet in each of their last four preseason outings.
  • Four of the last six meetings between opponents on Friday have ended with less than 2.5 goals.

Conclusion

While we may open this year’s championship campaign with a showdown between two pre-season contenders, we may have a low-scoring deal on our hands at Vitality. Looking to take it one step further after falling into the play-offs in the semi-finals over the summer, Scott Parker’s side managed to gain perfect momentum last weekend. However, really enjoying their bounce under their new boss during pre-season preparations, the West Brom also showed off some eye-catching displays on the back. By recording a clean sheet in each of their last friendlies, it should also be noted that four of the last six meetings between opponents on Friday have ended with less than 2.5 goals.

Verdict: less than 2.5 goals

Best odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Unibet

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