West Brom vs Bournemouth Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News & More
It's their first Premier League game of the season, and both the Baggies and Cherries will be eager to build upon their impressive campaigns last term with a win against a potential mid-table rival.
Tony Pulis' solid outfit, as always, will be most focused on upholding their excellent defensive record, but will also be very keen to show their critics that they are also capable of playing exciting football as much as the rest of the league.
Eddie Howe's Bournemouth on the other hand will be aiming for nearly the opposite, having come under fire previously for shipping too many goals, they will be looking to balance their attractive game with a West Brom style display at the back.
Here's everything you need to know ahead of the clash at the Hawthorns:
You have to go back 25 years to recall the last time West Brom beat Bournemouth in a league match, as in recent years the Cherries have provided some of the toughest opposition the Midlands side have faced.
Fans may recall the rather ferocious 2015 clash during the winter of Bournemouth's first season in the Premier League, in which they won 2-1, with West Brom having two men sent off as they slumped to a defeat in the notably intense game.
The Baggies were a man down in the 34th minute when James McClean was shown red for scything down Adam Smith and The Cherries quickly took the lead when Smith fired in low from 20 yards, before Gareth McAuley equalised with a header.
Daniels crashed home the winner three minutes from time before Salomon Rondon saw red for a clash with Dan Gosling.
The veteran English striker will be looking to replicate his form last season during his first League game following his return to Bournemouth. Eddie Howe is supposedly confident he will play a part, and that will certainly be of concern to the Baggies' defenders.
Standing in his path to goal however, will be the defensive rock that is Jonny Evans. The West Brom skipper will have his hands full in keeping Defoe quiet, as not only will he have to watch out for the 34-year-old running in behind him, but must avoid any lose balls falling in the box that Defoe can smash into the net.
Jay Rodriguez vs Nathan Ake
West Brom have been determined to add more flair and pace into their side this summer, and the signing of Jay Rodriguez from Southampton looks to have ticked a huge box in that regard.
Contrastingly, the Cherries have spent money on improving thier back-line, purchasing Nathan Ake from Chelsea in what appears to be very shrewd business.
The clash between the youthful pair will be an entertaining one, as Rodriguez will probably have Salomon Rondon for company up-front, giving him knock-downs and hassling the opposing defenders while Ake uses all his quality to try and stop them.
Tony Pulis is expected to have a full compliment of players to choose from ahead of Saturday's match after James Morrison, Gareth McAuley, Chris Brunt, Jonny Evans and Nacer Chadli all returned to training this week after suffering injuries.
Bournemouth meanwhile will be without the services of Junior Stanislas (groin), Emerson Hyndman (fractured foot) and Callum Wilson (knee ligament). Jermain Defoe is expected to return from a slight groin injury along with Steve Cook from a knock.
Potential West Brom Starting Lineup: Foster, Evans, Hegazi, Nyom, Brunt; Livermore, Yacob, McClean, Chadli; Rondon, Rodriguez
Potential Bournemouth Starting Lineup: Begovic, Cook, Ake, Daniels; Fraser, Arter, Surman, Pugh; King, Defoe
Whenever these teams have faced each other in recent years, it's always been very close, and barring any slip-ups by either side, it will be a fiercely contested game.
Although West Brom are notoriously difficult to play against, Bournemouth appear to have the ability to score even against even the toughest teams and will most likely grab at least one goal on Saturday.
A scoring draw is the predictable outcome for this game, considering West Brom's addition of a bit more flair to their team, but don't be surprised if either team manage to steal the win in what seems like a evenly-matched affair.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Bournemouth