Bournemouth kick off the new 2021-22 Sky Bet Championship season as they welcome West Bromwich Albion to Vitaly Stadium in the league’s opening match.
Bournemouth come into this campaign under new management as Scott Parker takes charge after the Cherries missed out on promotion via last season’s Play-Offs.
West Brom meanwhile are back in the Championship after suffering relegation after just one season back in the Premier League, as Valerien Ismael prepares to take charge of his first competitive match as the Baggies manager after departing Barnsley following an unsuccessful Play-Off bid last season.
Leif Davis is a doubt for Bournemouth after missing last weekend’s Carabao Cup victory over MK Dons with a knock.
Lewis Cook, Steve Cook (both knee), Arnaut Danjuma (unspecified) and Jefferson Lerma (suspension) remain on the sidelines.
Chris Mepham will return after serving an one match ban in last weekend’s Carabao Cup win.
West Brom have a near full squad with Taylor Gardner-Hickman and Quevin Castro the only doubts with knocks.
Summer signings – Alex Mowatt, Matt Clarke and Adam Reach are all set for their competitive West Brom debuts in this fixture.
- Bournemouth have lost just two of their last six meetings against West Brom, with all six of those clashes taking place in the Premier League (W3, D1, L2).
- West Brom have won just two of their last 11 trips to Bournemouth in all competitions (W2, D2, L7).
- Just four of Bournemouth’s starting eleven in their last meeting against West Brom remain at the club – Steve Cook, Adam Smith, Lewis Cook and Junior Stanislas, whereas only Jake Livermore remains out of West Brom’s lineup as the Cherries won 2-1 in March 2018.
- No team in England’s top two divisions conceded more league goals in 2020-21 campaign than West Brom who conceded 76 goals in 38 matches.
- Bournemouth last season won two of three matches refereed by Darren Bond (W2, L1), with only one of those matches played at home in a 4-2 victory against Reading in November 2020.
Bournemouth come into this match in great spirits with a first competitive win under their belts following their dominant First Round victory over MK Dons in this season’s Carabao Cup last weekend, whilst managing to retain the core of their squad despite losing last season’s Play-Offs.
The Cherries are also now under Scott Parker’s management who did a solid job with Fulham in the Championship two seasons ago, which should give them extra motivation to impress and start their campaign with a win.
West Brom meanwhile will be an interesting prospect under new management of Ismael following his attacking football exploits at Barnsley last season, which could suit the Baggies if players like Matheus Pereira and Karlan Grant can adapt to his style but their defence is their Achilles heel at present.
On that note, I am expecting goals here between both teams but if Bournemouth play with the same quality as seen against MK Dons, I can see them breaking down West Brom’s leaky defence which doesn’t look like it has been invested in this summer other than Clarke and Kieran Gibbs will be a loss at left-back.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-1 West Brom
Result: Bournemouth 2-2 WBA