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Barclays Premier League

The Hawthorns (ATT 25,927) 17th August 2013 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: K Friend

West Brom West Bromwich Albion vs Southampton Southampton

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Southampton 1

R Lambert (pen 90)

Premier League: West Brom entertain Southampton on the opening day

Last Updated: 16/08/13 3:45pm

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Rickie Lambert: Scored 15 Premier League goals last season

Rickie Lambert: Scored 15 Premier League goals last season

England hero Rickie Lambert will be the centre of attention when Southampton travel to West Brom on the opening day of the new Premier League season.

The Saints striker came off the bench to score the winning goal with his first touch on his international debut as England beat Scotland 3-2 in Wednesday's international friendly at Wembley.

Lambert scored 15 league goals last season and the visitors will be looking to him for more as they hunt their first victory at The Hawthorns since 1984.

Southampton struggled against West Brom last season, losing the away fixture 2-0 in early November and then going down 3-0 at St Mary's in late April.

The latter result was Albion's only victory in in the last nine games of the 2012/13 campaign. Southampton also finished weakly, failing to win any of their last six.

Having lost the services of on-loan Chelsea ace Romelu Lukaku, Baggies boss Steve Clarke has brought in former France striker Nicolas Anelka to lead their attack. Another new addition, Matej Vydra, is also vying for a place up front along with Shane Long. Peter Odemwingie, who netted both goals in this fixture last season, will not be involved as he continues to seek a move elsewhere.

Like Clarke, Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino has managed to keep all his first-team stars this summer but the Spaniard has also been allowed to shell out just over £20million on Kenya midfielder Victor Wanyama and Croatia defender Dejan Lovren. Both new signings could make their competitive debuts on Saturday.

Albion kicked off the 2012/13 campaign with an impressive 3-0 home win over Liverpool, bucking a trend of otherwise poor starts. Southampton traditionally start even more slowly, however - they have won only one of their previous 14 games on the opening day of the Premier League season.

PAUL MERSON PREDICTS: 1-1

This will be a tight game between two teams who had good seasons last year and you wouldn't be surprised which one finishes above the other this season. Rickie Lambert will be on a high and a comedown at the same time after his England debut on Wednesday night and everybody will be looking at him. The newspapers will be doing "Lambert watch" or whatever, so it'll be interesting to see how he reacts.

West Brom will miss Romalu Lukaku, but Shane Long is a good player and Nicolas Anelka is there now. I played with him at Arsenal and I thought he'd go on to be one of the best of the best, but you get to a certain age in football and you only get worse. As great as Ryan Giggs is, he's nowhere near as good as he was 10 years ago. It'll be interesting how much they use him because if he fires he'll do damage, but he's at the wrong age for me.

West Brom Badge West Brom

Nicolas Anelka is set to make his competitive West Brom debut.

The 34-year-old, scorer of seven pre-season goals for Albion since joining in July, is one of three new faces added to the squad this summer along with fellow striker Matej Vydra and defender Diego Lugano, both of whom could also be involved in the campaign-opening game.

Wantaway frontman Peter Odemwingie has trained apart from the first team this summer and seems certain not to get a look in, while midfielders Zoltan Gera and George Thorne (both knee) are not yet ready for selection after their injuries.

Southampton Badge Southampton

Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino could be without two of his first-choice full-backs at The Hawthorns.

Both Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw are struggling with knocks picked up in the latter stages of pre-season and are rated as doubtful. Shaw (knee) is the most likely of the two youngsters to be involved, with Clyne still recovering from a problem he sustained in Austria.

England's latest goalscorer Lambert is expected to lead the line but the fitness of Gaston Ramirez and Maya Yoshida was expected to be judged later on Friday after they travelled long-haul for midweek internationals.

Opta stats

  • West Brom have only won two of their last 15 opening league games (D5 L8).
  • Southampton have won just one of their previous 14 games on the opening day of the Premier League season.
  • Of all teams to have played 10 or more Barclays Premier League seasons, Southampton have the worst opening day record (an average of just 0.64 points per game).

Previous game's starting line-ups

4-4-1-1
  • Foster 1 Foster
  • Reid S 2 Reid S
  • McAuley 23 McAuley
  • Olsson J 3 Olsson J

  • Ridgewell 6 Ridgewell
  • Amalfitano 18 Amalfitano
  • Mulumbu 21 Mulumbu
  • Dorrans 17 Dorrans
  • Brunt 11 Brunt
  • Sessegnon 29 Sessegnon

  • Vydra 20 Vydra

Team taken from West Bromwich Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur (Barclays Premier League) on Saturday 12th April 2014

4-2-3-1
  • Gazzaniga 25 Gazzaniga
  • Chambers 22 Chambers

  • Fonte 6 Fonte
  • Lovren 5 Lovren
  • Shaw 23 Shaw
  • Cork 18 Cork

  • Schneiderlin 4 Schneiderlin
  • Davis S 8 Davis S
  • Ramirez 10 Ramirez

  • Lallana 20 Lallana
  • Lambert 7 Lambert

Team taken from Southampton vs Cardiff City (Barclays Premier League) on Saturday 12th April 2014


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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 34 77
2 Chelsea 34 75
3 Manchester City 33 71
4 Arsenal 34 67
5 Everton 34 66
6 Tottenham Hotspur 34 60
7 Manchester United 33 57
8 Southampton 34 48
9 Newcastle United 34 46
10 Stoke City 34 43
11 Crystal Palace 34 40
12 West Ham United 34 37
13 Hull City 33 36
14 Aston Villa 33 34
15 Swansea City 34 33
16 West Bromwich Albion 33 33
17 Norwich City 34 32
18 Fulham 34 30
19 Cardiff City 34 29
20 Sunderland 33 26

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