West Bromwich Albion are on the up.
After a disappointing Premier League campaign that saw them sink into the Championship and controversially lose Darren Moore a year later despite finishing in the top half of the table, the helms have now been passed to Slaven Bilic.
There was enough promise and potential in West Brom’s performances last year to suggest that they can make the playoffs and return to top-flight English football (which you can read about in-depth in our 2019/20 Championship season preview).
But they will need the full support and expertise of the Croatian to help them do so.
It couldn’t be clearer that Bilic will be a hit at the Hawthorne, given that the Baggies have kick-started their campaign with an unbeaten record of two wins and a draw.
This weekend they have a good chance of extending that run against Reading, given their home record.
Take a read of our West Brom vs Reading predictions to find out how we expect this game to pan out…
West Brom vs Reading Predictions
Jose Gomes’ men face quite the challenge this Wednesday.
They’ll be facing a West Brom side who are one of six teams to still be unbeaten, boasting a particularly impressive attack.
From Charlie Austin to Hal Robson-Kanu, Bilic has Premier-League-approved strikers, who possess the skill and footballing know-how to really rack up the goals this season. And alongside the experienced heads are players who have developed from the academy to the Hawthorns, from successful transfer signings and more.
Leading the charge on the pitch and in our Championship betting markets is Romaine Sawyers and Grady Diangana.
The pair have been particularly impressive across the early stages of the Championship, and our West Brom vs Reading predictions forecast the duo to be at the centre of the action, especially with the kind of stats they take into the clash. Indeed, while Sawyers possesses a stellar sense of passing – notching an incredible 98.4% passing accuracy during the comeback against Luton Town – Diangana is ruthless in front of goal.
Just like Sawyer, the 21-year-old impressed against Graeme Jones’ men with a quick-fire double on his league debut and will have surely done enough to confirm his place in this Wednesday’s starting XI.
So, it’s pretty obvious to see why Albion are considered favourites to snap up all three points, with a compelling strike partnership, a robust midfield, and a winning record over their opponents that spans back to 1988.
Yet Bilic will be all too aware of the attacking power that Reading have within their midst, chiefly in George Puscas.
The Romanian striker was signed for a club-record 8 million-pound fee from Inter Milan earlier this month and has already proved exactly why he’s worth the price-tag.
Puscas’ memorable debut appearance against Cardiff City saw him muscle his way past a stunned Bluebirds defence to net a brace – he doesn’t look as if he’s in any mood to stop, with three goals already under his belt.
Keeping him quiet will be at the top of West Brom’s to-do list, but as Cardiff proved during the weekend, that’s easier said than done.
Fortunately for the Baggies, they have plenty of options on hand to counter Reading; whether Puscas scores or not, they should be able to edge their way to victory.
West Brom vs Reading Head To Head
The last time Albion faced Reading was in a 0-0 away draw in April.
However, while that particular contest was scrappy and evenly-matched, the Royal’s most recent visit to the Hawthorns saw the Baggies run out 4-1 winners, which is perhaps a more telling scoreline to support our West Brom vs Reading predictions.
Leandro Bacuna put the visitors ahead, but Dwight Gayle’s brace alongside Harvey Barnes and Kyle Bartley’s goals made the difference.
In the overall head-to-head statistics, Bilic’s men edge things with eight wins to Reading’s seven.
West Brom Team News
Meanwhile, Bilic has much to ponder ahead of this Wednesday’s clash.
The Croatian will have half an eye on resting the players that started against Luton Town during the weekend to prevent fatigue or injury from occurring.
Bilic had this to say about the potential squad rotation:
‘The reason is to give some players a bit of a rest because we have two games in three days basically and considering we’ve already played one game a few days ago, that’s what we are thinking.’
yet considering that he’s named the same starting XI for the first three league games of the season and has earned seven points out of a possible nine, there will be a temptation to field the same side.
What’s clear is that Saturday’s substitutes do have a chance of playing against Reading.
Diangana, Austin and Matheus Pereira are all under consideration for a starting place after substitute appearances at Kenilworth Road.
But Bilic will be without Gareth Barry who is still recovering from a knee injury, and key winger Ahmed Hegazi – a loss that will see the Egyptian out for a further five weeks that our West Brom vs Reading predictions see affecting the Baggies attack.
Reading Team News
Fortunately for Gomes, he’ll be able to field his strongest starting XI, with no notable injuries to report.
Expect the likes of Puscas, Ejaria, and Joao all to play for the ninety despite the weekend contributions they provided.
While it may seem a little risky to have these players starting their second game in the space of four days, Reading simply have no choice – they will have to field their strongest side against West Brom if they are to have a chance of coming away from the game with a point or more.
West Brom vs Reading Betting Tips
The betting tipsters have swayed in the favour of our West Brom vs Reading predictions, tipping the Baggies to win with odds of 13/20.
Meanwhile, their opponents are wagering as a 79/20 pick in our West Brom vs Reading match bets, with the chances of a draw playing out forecast at 3/1.
But with a stellar home record and an in-form attack, another win for Bilic’s men is the only way we see this latest Championship clash ending.