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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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From BBC ...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/4612222.stm

The Hawthorns
Saturday, 21 January
Kick-off: 1715 GMT
BBC Radio Five Live

West Brom welcome back Neil Clement and Darren Moore but Geoff Horsfield, Steve Watson, Kevin Campbell and Paul Robinson are doubts.

Zoltan Gera and Thomas Gaardsoe are injured and Kanu and Diomansy Kamara are on African Cup of Nations duty.

Sunderland's Christian Bassila is pushing for a recall.

Kevin Kyle (hip cartilage), George McCartney (tendon), Stephen Elliott (back), Stephen Wright (calf) and Chris Brown (knee) are all still missing.

West Brom (from): Kuszczak, Kirkland, Watson, Clement, C Davies, Moore, Robinson, Greening, Wallwork, Inamoto, Carter, Ellington, Campbell, Earnshaw, Chaplow, Albrechtsen, R Davies.

Sunderland (from): Davis, Alnwick, Hoyte, Nosworthy, Breen, Caldwell, N Collins, D Collins, Bassila, Miller, Whitehead, Arca, Lawrence, Welsh, Woods, Stead, Le Tallec, Gray, Murphy.

# West Brom manager Bryan Robson:
"I won't underestimate Sunderland just because of their position in the league.

"They're well organised because Mick McCarthy always has his side well prepared. We're going to have to be at our best.

"If we think they're going to lie down and die, we've got another thing coming because it will be a tough match."

# Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy:
"They have done okay at home but they are still near the wrong part of the table.

"Nobody wants to be the team to be beaten by Sunderland and that will make West Brom nervous.

"We are in a position where they do not want to be which is bottom. It will be a hard fight between two teams scrapping for points."

BIG-MATCH FACTS

# WEST BROMWICH ALBION take to the field for the first time since the midweek FA Cup Replay defeat by Championship pacesetters Reading, to face relegation near-certainties Sunderland in a must-win Saturday teatime fixture. It's Albion's 50th home match in the Premier League, and victory would bring their points total under Bryan Robson to 50.

# The Baggies lie two places and five points above the drop zone. They have a one point per game ratio after 22 outings, but even so, that represents their best performance yet in the Premiership. They've spread their goals around the field, with 13 different scorers - no club can match that. The Black Country side won 0-1 at Wigan last weekend, but have not managed back-to-back victories in 29 Premiership matches.

# Albion hold an unbeaten Premiership record against Sunderland with one win and two draws. The reverse fixture was level. Gary Breen's header looked to have gained a first victory for Sunderland after they started the season with five straight defeats. Zoltan Gera's last ditch equaliser was cruel on the Wearsiders, who had to be satisfied with a first point.

# SUNDERLAND have a Fourth Round trip to Brentford in the FA Cup to look forward to next week, as a diversion from the longest winless run in the Premiership this season of 14 matches, the last three of which were lost. The Wearsiders, who are four places and 16 points behind West Brom, have only a managed one League victory all season and have lost 17 of 21. They've collected a mere six points from a possible 90 in top flight matches under Mick McCarthy, bridging this season with the end of the doomed 2002/03 campaign.

# The Stadium of Light club had three times as many points as their current tally of six at this stage three seasons ago when they went down with the lowest number of points ever in a Premiership season. They had 18 after 21 matches then, but only picked up another one. Sunderland need 14 of the remaining 51 available to them to avoid smashing their own record. They also need to treble their current total, in other words another 12 points, to avoid joining Stoke on the lowest ever points return from a top flight season since three points were awarded for a victory.

# The Black Cats have not lost in six League visits to the Hawthorns. They've won three and drawn three since losing 2-1 on 5 February 1994 in a second tier League encounter.

REFEREE:
Phil Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent)

SEQUENCES/RECENT FORM

WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Club stats
Fixtures
16th 22 points
Highest achievable after Saturday's matches: 15th
Lowest could fall: 17th

# One win in five League and Cup matches.
# Won three of the last seven Premiership games.
# Lost four of the last six top flight encounters.
# Last recorded consecutive victories in the Premier League against Charlton (a) and Everton (h) on 19 March and 3 April 2005.
# Never had 22 points after the first 22 matches of a Premier League season before. The previous best at this stage was 16 points in 2002/03. They had 17 points after the first 23 matches that season - again a club Premiership best.
# Gone in all-square at half time on 13 occasions - more often that any other club.

# Won three of the last five Premiership games at the Hawthorns.
# Lost one of those five.
# Claimed 10 points from the last possible 15 on home turf.

SUNDERLAND
Club stats
Fixtures
20th 6 points
Highest achievable after Saturday's matches: 20th
Lowest could fall: 20th

# Sunderland won just four games, lost 27, scored 21 goals, conceded 65 and gained a record low 19 points when relegated from the Premiership in the 2002/03.
# The record lowest points tally in top flight football since three points for a win was introduced in the 1981/82 season, was the 17 accrued by Stoke from 42 matches in 1984/85.
# 10 points adrift at the foot, and 16 points below safety.
# Lost the last three Premiership matches against Everton (h), Fulham (a) and Chelsea (h).
# Pressing for a first win in 15 Premiership outings.
# On the Premiership's longest current winless run of 14 games.
# Claimed just two points from 14 matches since their only League victory (0-2 at Middlesbrough on 25 September).
# Lost 12 of the last 13 - picking up one point out of a possible 39.
# Failed to score in five of the last eight Premiership contests.
# Managed one clean sheet in 14 in the top flight.
# Dropped 57 points this season.
# Picked up 0.29 points per game this term.
# Scored on average one goal every 118 minutes (one hour 58 minutes) and conceded on average one goal every 47 minutes of Premiership soccer played this term.
# Kept fewer clean sheets in the top League than any other club - just two against Middlesbrough (a) and Bolton (h).
# Lost all 12 games in which the opening goal has been conceded.
# This is Mick McCarthy's 31st Premiership match in charge of Sunderland.
# Won one and lost 26 of 30 top flight games under McCarthy, bagging just six points from a possible 90.
# Claimed 12 points from the last 138 available.
# Lost 32 of 36 Premiership games, and 38 of 45, spanning the 2002/03 and current seasons.
# Completed 13 top tier engagements without a score draw.

# Lost all five top flight games away from home since the victory at the Riverside nearly four months ago.
# Lost at Newcastle (3-2), Arsenal (3-1), Tottenham (3-2), Charlton (2-0) and Fulham (2-1).

KEY PLAYER NOTES/POTENTIAL MILESTONES

WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Squad profiles

# Darren CARTER spent a period on loan with Sunderland for the first half of last season, when a Birmingham player.
# Robert EARNSHAW is a hat-trick shy of 100 English League goals.
# EARNSHAW is one short of 100 goals in the English and Scottish Leagues (Cardiff, Morton and West Brom).
# Nathan ELLINGTON needs three more to total 100 in his League career (Bristol Rovers, Wigan and West Brom).
# If he plays, Kevin CAMPBELL will be making his 450th appearance in English League football (Arsenal, Leyton Orient, Leicester, Nottingham Forest, Everton and West Brom).
# If on the field from the outset, Geoff HORSFIELD will be making his 50th start for the Baggies.
# If he gets a run out, Andy JOHNSON will be making his 100th appearance in top flight soccer.

SUNDERLAND
Squad profiles

# If he plays, Liam LAWRENCE, will be making his 50th League appearance for Sunderland.
# LAWRENCE has scored both of Sunderland's only two League goals in five games.
# Andy GRAY is two short of totalling 50 career League goals (Bury, Nottingham Forest, Bradford City, Sheffield United and Sunderland).

THIS SEASON'S REVERSE FIXTURE:
Sunderland 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
17 September 2005 - Ref: Richard Beeby
Sunderland scorer: Breen 7
WBA scorer: Gera 90

HEAD TO HEAD TOTALS
League: WBA 42 wins, Sunderland 52, Draws 39
Prem: WBA 1 win, Sunderland 0, Draws 2

HEAD TO HEAD at WBA
League: WBA 32 wins, Sunderland 16, Draws 18
Prem: WBA 0 wins, Sunderland 0, Draws 1
 

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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Discussion Starter #2
This is a game we should really win at home, but with our depleted squad I'm not sure if it'll be as easy as it should be, with our tardiness not picking up any new signings.
There are no games next week due to 4th round of the cup, so this our last game for 2 weeks.
 

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Damn it! Le Tallec scores a late goal to give Sunderland a 1-0 win. :( Disappointing to say the least, though there was some debate about a shove from Liam Lawrence on Carter right before the goal. The good thing is, Middlesbrough also lost today, so we stay in 16th spot for now, though they have a game in hand. Birmingham won 5-0 against Pompey. :(
 

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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Discussion Starter #4
It was beyond belief that Robson couldn't see that the midfield needed adjusting at half time. We were losing it in midfield, and I said to the wife, we needed to change it or we'll suffer the consequences.

Carter is overweight and rubbish, hes not a footballer at present, and shouldn;t be playing. Greening should have gone to left mid Chaplow should have come on for Cart"horse"er and played right side. Ina wasn't having a good game and if we'd had anyone fit needed subbing too. You can forgive a player an odd game here and there but Carter's been playing rubbish for ages. I just couldn't believe we didn't change anything at half time. Lo and behold Sunderland have 65% possession in the first 15 minutes, but still Robson doesn't change it, instead a short while later after it finally twigs he better do something about our lack of possession in midfield, the substitution comes. A master stroke we take off a midfielder and play another striker. So now we have 3 players not getting any service, and Sunderland run riot. Not till the 85th minute does Chaplow come on, totally pointless.

I've always been a fan of Robson, but some of these decisions are just staggering, I know I'm not alone in this view as all the other fans I've spoken to all agree about the game and lack of midfield possession.

Sort it out Robson!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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