Burnley vs West Brom predictions: High-class opponents should not offer any free gifts
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Dan Sait
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Burnley boss Vincent Kompany will be expecting a real test on Friday against West Brom
Burnley boss Vincent Kompany will be expecting a real test on Friday against West Brom

- League-leading Burnley are not playing at their very best but keep grinding out the victories
- West Brom have won nine of their last ten Championship games under Carlos Corberan
- Recommended bet: 0-0 half-time score

Championship leaders Burnley were fortunate to gain a seventh-successive league victory against Coventry last time out, taking over an hour to craft a shot on target and netting a late winner they barely deserved.

In truth, that has been the tale of recent weeks, with the Clarets often failing to impress since the free-flowing performances of October and November yet still doing enough to claim all three points.

However, it would be churlish in the extreme to criticise anything that Vincent Kompany has done during his debut managerial campaign in England. The former Manchester City captain has transformed Burnley's style – adopting a progressive, possession-based approach – and he has achieved that stylistic change while guiding them to five points clear at the top of the Championship.

Equally impressive, however, is the job being done by Carlos Corberan at West Brom. 

After performing wonders at Huddersfield in his last managerial stint in England, the Spaniard has led the Baggies from 23rd in the second tier to sixth in the space of just 12 weeks. 

The miracle worker is at it again and his West Brom side will be looking to showcase their promotion credentials against Kompany's highflying Clarets.

Team news

Burnley boss Kompany will be denied the services of on-loan Manchester City centre-back Taylor Harwood-Bellis for a couple of months with a foot injury – which will be a blow as the 20-year-old has shone this term.

However, new signing Ameen Al-Dakhi is eligible to make his debut having arrived from Sint-Truiden last week and the Belgium under-21 defender could slot straight in at centre-back if needed.

Right-back Vitinho has returned to training after a rib injury and should return to the first-team squad but midfielder Jack Cork serves the first of a two-match suspension.

West Brom are likely to again be without Kyle Bartley, with the centre-back nursing a quad injury, while fellow defender Kean Bryan suffered a setback in his recovery from a ruptured ACL and is not expected back for another couple of weeks.

Forward Brandon Thomas-Asante serves the third match of a three-match suspension.

The stats 

Both teams are in superb form, with Burnley winning 11 of their last 12 Championship games to sit five points clear at the top of the table while West Brom have won nine of their last 10 matches to rise to sixth. 

The Baggies' improvement reflects incredibly well on Carlos Corberan – his first match after taking charge was a loss to second-placed Sheffield United but since then their only defeat came when losing 1-0 at Coventry to a 93rd-minute penalty. 

West Brom's impressive come-from-behind 3-2 victory away win at play-off chasing Luton last weekend was only the second time in 10 league games that Corberan's team had conceded before half-time – they have kept full-time clean sheets in seven of their last 10 Championship outings, too. 

But Kompany's men have been just as impressive in defence, keeping five clean sheets in their last seven outings and conceding in the first half in just one of those games. 

Prediction 

Carlos Corberan looks to be doing a fine job of transforming West Brom's season
Carlos Corberan looks to be doing a fine job of transforming West Brom's season

This is a clash between two of the most impressive managers in the division, with Kompany transforming Burnley's style of play in spectacular style and Corberan following up his impressive stint at Huddersfield in rocketing West Brom up the table. 

While it is understandable that runaway league leaders Burnley are 11/10 favourites on home soil, that price feels too short against a Baggies team who they have drawn against in their last three meetings and are vastly improved since September's 1-1 stalemate at The Hawthorns. 

It would be no great surprise if both again settled for a share of the points as it would be a positive result for the Baggies and would do little damage to Burnley's promotion aspirations, given they are 16 points clear of third place. Adding the draw to Bet Builder selections looks a decent option. 

But the best bet is to back a low-scoring encounter. Both managers are building solid possession-based teams and, certainly in the early exchanges, neither will see any need to be excessively attacking and risk getting caught on the counter-attack. 

That could lead to a slow-burner of a match, which makes backing the 0-0 half-time score – available at 13/8 with LiveScore Bet – the most appealing approach.

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ChampionshipBurnleyWest Bromwich
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