Champion League

West Brom: Semi Ajayi can shackle Keane

West Bromwich Albion are back in action tonight, as they welcome a weak Wigan Athletic side to the Hawthorns.

It marks an all-important Championship clash for both sides, who boast wildly differing reasons for their desire to win. Whilst the Baggies seek to bounce back from their defeat to Hull City, reigniting their playoff hopes, the Latics already find themselves six points adrift. Winning this game in hand would put them in a far much more secure position to achieve safety.

Should Semi Ajayi start tonight?

Their league position has come about through months of poor form, in which they have won just once in all competitions since early November.

Despite this, their top marksman Will Keane remains a threat to any defence he plays against. The 30-year-old has already hit double figures this campaign for a struggling outfit, and should the visitors earn a result tonight it will likely be forged through him.

Therefore Carlos Corberan must pay close attention to the former Manchester United man, devising a plan to neutralise their main threat to ensure another home win for his side.

Perhaps returning Semi Ajayi to the starting side could be just the move.

Will Semi Ajayi play for West Brom tonight?

The £13k-per-week titan has recently been displaced from the starting side, having started the season so well only to be struck down with injury.

Erik Pieters remains in his spot, with the Dutchman having struck up a fine partnership with the ever-present Dara O’Shea.

But with Keane standing at 6 foot 2, the physical forward would be much more suited to the game of Ajayi, who stands four inches taller than his current competition for that second centre-back spot.

Not only this but the attributes that Steve Bruce listed off when praising the 29-year-old further mark him out as the perfect man to shackle the Irish striker. His former boss claimed: “I’ve enjoyed watching him, he’s a hell of a good defender. When he’s like he was on Saturday he’s big, strong, powerful, quick, he gave a mountain of a performance, especially second half.”

Last season he maintained a 6.84 average rating where he would average 1.5 tackles, one interceptions and three clearances per 90 (via Sofascore), as he dominated plenty of strikers across the campaign.

Despite having been limited to just three appearances from the bench in the last ten league games, now could mark the perfect time to get him back up to speed whilst also throwing him into battle with Wigan’s main goal threat.

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