Brighton’s defeat by Sheffield United have given West Brom’s ailing hopes of avoiding relegation a twitch following Thursday night’s loss against Leicester City but even if they win this game in hand, which would be their first Premier League victory at Villa Park since Saido Berahino scored in a 1-0 win six years ago, they will remains seven points behind the other Albion. West Brom boss Sam Allardyce has again rounded on the Premier League ahead of the Baggies’ crucial derby at Aston Villa.
Sam Allardyce is unhappy that this match has not been switched to tomorrow given Villa played on Wednesday and have had an extra day’s rest. “There are small margins in this game and the fact we can’t recover as much as Aston Villa has massively disadvantaged us,” said Allardyce. “People can say we are making excuses before we start but it’s a fact. They didn’t need to give us this game [Leicester] on this day. If you did then you certainly didn’t need to give us the next game on Sunday. Villa played on Wednesday and Leicester are playing next Monday. Why us? We got the same treatment, extremely poorly, a few weeks ago when we played Fulham and Newcastle.
“They were going to be two of the biggest games we could face and then they go ‘oh, by the way, you’re playing Everton on Thursday night’. We wanted to play Villa last Saturday or Sunday, they wanted to play us and got blankly refused. Don’t know why. We don’t have another game after Sunday until next Monday against Wolves. Why? We haven’t been treated fairly at all.”
After Thursday’s defeat at the King Power Stadium, Allardyce targeted five wins from Albion’s final six games to stay in the Premier League.
“It’s Aston Villa against West Brom. It’s a head-to-head West Midlands derby, everyone will be up for it,” he said. “We have to win it but we won’t win it unless we defend correctly. It won’t be anything but a ferocious football match.”
Villa have won two in 10, a slump that has exasperated Dean Smith. “I have been frustrated with an awful lot of the games,” he said. “But I think it has just been a really tough part of the season for everyone. There doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of rhythm. A lot of teams have had an awful lot of injuries to key players.
“A few players have been trying to recapture the form they had before – Bertrand Traore, Anwar El Ghazi, Ollie Watkins have not been scoring as freely – but it is not for the want of trying. I have said many times my teams normally finish seasons well and I expect them to do so again this season.”