Southampton-West Brom Preview
West Bromwich Albion and Southampton meet at The Hawthorns on Saturday, with both clubs eager to build on welcome victories last time out.
The Baggies (1-1-2) secured their first Premier League win of the season after beating nine-man Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium just before the international break. Club record signing Salomon Rondon scored the winner on 45 minutes when he headed home Rickie Lambert's cross. The Potters had midfielders Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam sent off in the first half after they were both shown straight red cards for violent conduct.
Venezuela striker Rondon, who joined Albion from Russia side from Zenit St Petersburg last month in a £12 million deal, was delighted after opening his account for his new club.
"I am very happy to score my first goal for Albion," the 25-year-old Rondon told his club's official website. "It was a big goal because it gave us the victory and our first three points of the season. Stoke are a difficult team so to beat them is pleasing.
"I am settling in well, England is very good. The Premier League is very tough so I know I have to work hard."
The Saints (1-2-1) also claimed their first league victory of the campaign as they beat 10-man Norwich 3-0 at home on Aug. 29. Graziano Pelle scored just before the interval before Dusan Tadic netted two more goals in the second half. The Canaries had defender Steven Whittaker sent off just past the half-hour mark when he was shown two yellow cards in quick succession.
Southampton's new signing Virgil van Dijk, who moved to St. Mary's from Scottish champions Celtic on transfer deadline day, says he's ready to make his league debut against West Brom.
"I feel ready for Saturday," Dutch defender van Dijk told his club's official website. "I've been thinking about it a lot. From now on the focus is on that game. We need to be ready and I think we will be.
"For me, everything is new so I need to get used to it – the style of play, other players as well. It's been tough. I'm fit and ready for everything."
West Brom striker Saido Berahino is back in training after suggesting he would never play for the club again after chairman Jeremy Peace blocked a transfer to Tottenham Hotspur. The England Under-21 international could feature against Southampton after being left out of the side for the last three matches. Baggies duo Chris Brunt and James Chester face late fitness tests on hamstring injuries.
Southampton's Florin Gardos is sidelined with a hamstring problem, while Jordy Clasie, Ryan Bertrand and Fraser Forster all miss out with knee injuries.
West Brom took four points off Southampton last season, including a 1-0 home win over the Saints in February. Berahino scored two minutes in and the Baggies held on for the final 88 to earn the win. It was also the only goal between the sides last season with the match at St. Mary's in August ending scoreless.
Southampton have scored only two goals in their last seven league meetings with West Brom dating back to 2005. They've been shut out five times, with both goals coming in the 2013-14 season.
Overall, West Brom hold the slightest of edges in Premier League matches, winning four times to Southampton's three. The sides have drawn three times and Albion have outscored Southampton 9-5 in those 10 games.
West Brom are 1-1-4 in their last six home matches, with the lone win a 3-0 romp over Chelsea in May.
Southampton are winless in their last nine away Premier League matches (0-3-6), but two of those draws have come this season. The Saints' last away win was a 1-0 at Queens Park Rangers in February.