West Brom survival bid hit by injury to captain Chris Brunt
The body count at Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion is racking up following the news that club captain Chris Brunt will miss five to six weeks with a knee injury.
Pepe Mel has yet to win a match since being named Steve Clarke’s successor as Baggies head coach and they are joint fourth-favourites at 15/8 to be relegated.
Versatile midfielder Brunt, a Northern Ireland international, has scored twice for Albion this term and made five Premier League assists. He was substituted during West Brom’s 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United and is set to miss their next six matches.
That rules 29-year-old Brunt out of several encounters with the Baggies’ relegation rivals. He will be absent for away games against Swansea (16/1 to go down), Hull (14/1), Norwich (9/4) and Manchester City, as well as home fixtures with Cardiff (odds-on at 4/9) and Tottenham.
Albion will hope to have Brunt back for their run-in, which are battles with West Ham and Stoke (outsiders at 20/1 each) – both at The Hawthorns – and a trip to Arsenal.
Mel’s men are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference, but second bottom Sunderland (also 15/8) have two games in hand on them. Coral continue to make West Brom odds-on to stay up at 4/11, but Brunt is just the tip of the iceberg on the injury front.
The Baggies are also missing experienced defender Diego Lugano for the next month. He suffered medial ligament damage when captaining 28/1 World Cup shots Uruguay against Austria during the international break.
Midfield anchor Claudio Yacob and utility man Steven Reid are also doubts for Albion’s next encounter against Swansea. Striker Nicolas Anelka continues to serve a five-match ban for his quenelle gesture.
West Brom have never won at the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League, and are 3/1 outsiders for three points when they visit south Wales on March 16th. In Anelka’s absence, back talented youngster Saido Berahino or former Everton forward Victor Anichebe for goals anytime at 2/1 each.
Czech frontman Matej Vydra, who won last season’s Championship player of the year award during a loan spell at Watford, scored the Baggies’ last goal – which came in the 1-1 home draw with Fulham. He and ex-Sunderland attacker Stephane Sessegnon are 11/4 shots to net against the Swans.