LIVE: West Brom vs Aston Villa – Sam Allardyce back in the dugout after two years out as he takes charge of his first game as Baggies boss in a Midlands derby against Jack Grealish and Co
- West Brom welcome Midlands rivals Aston Villa to The Hawthorns this evening
- Sam Allardyce has made no changes for his bow as he succeeds Slaven Bilic
- Allardyce has been appointed to help the club avoid relegation this season
- Latest Premier League news, live action and results can be found here
- Premier League table – as it stands
Sam Allardyce is back in the dugout for the first time in two years as he takes charge of his first game as West Brom manager – and it’s against Midlands rivals Aston Villa.
The former Bolton, Everton and Sunderland boss has never been relegated as a manager and has been appointed as Slaven Bilic’s successor to avoid the drop once again.
The Baggies are currently second from bottom after securing just seven points from 13 games this season but will face a tough test when they welcome Jack Grealish and Co to the Hawthorns tonight.
Follow Sportsmail for all the minute-by-minute coverage of the fourth and final instalment of Premier League football on Sunday evening, where we will bring you the team news and all the build-up to Allardyce’s Baggies debut.
Baggies, look away now: this match inevitably draws memories of the Championship play-off semi-finals in 2019, when Villa won 4-3 on penalties at West Brom after the tightest of ties. Villa won 2-1 at Villa Park and West Brom won 1-0 in the return fixture, before Jed Steer saved two Albion penalties. Tammy Abraham scored the winning spot kick.
Matty Phillips is set to make his 150th appearance for West Brom tonight. The 29-year-old joined from QPR in 2016.
A couple of stats that might not make pretty reading for West Brom fans: your team has the lowest expected goals total in the Premier League this season, of 2.5; Villa, meanwhile, have the most clean sheets in the division, with six. Will form exit from the nearest window in the heat of a derby?
As you might expect, Allardyce has made precisely zero changes to the West Brom side that drew 1-1 at Manchester City. He’s only once lost his first Premier League game in charge of a team – with Sunderland in October 2015 – and he’s trusting the last 11 named by his predecessor to continue that fine record on his debut with Albion.
Neighbours Villa are dangerous opposition for Allardyce’s arrival. They’ve won four of their five away games in the Premier League this season, which is as many as they had managed in their previous 42 attempts. The Villans have also already eclipsed the 11 points they earned on their travels last season.
Big Sam was not primarily noted for his coaching during his time with the club between 1989 and 1991. He made one appearance for Albion as a player and took an early look at the tactics board as part of manager Brian Talbot’s team. Almost 30 years later, he’s boinged back here.
Here’s how they’ll line up tonight…
West Brom: Johnstone, Furlong, Ajayi, O’Shea, Gibbs, Phillips, Sawyers, Livermore, Gallagher, Diangana, Grant
Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Hause, Mings, Targett, Douglas Luiz, McGinn, Traore, Grealish, El Ghazi, Watkins
Here we are then, just under an hour from kick-off at The Hawthorns as West Brom look forward to their first match under new coach Sam Allardyce. Few would have expected Allardyce to be in the hotseat as his new club secured a highly creditable 1-1 draw at Manchester City in midweek, but that signalled the end for Slaven Bilic. Villa boss Dean Smith is in a comparatively stable position ahead of this fascinating derby between two familiar West Midlands rivals. Stay with us for full coverage courtesy of Sportsmail.
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