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Monday, 20 January 2014

West Brom v Everton - Pepe eyes winning start against Martinez

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New West Brom manager Pepe Mel makes his Premier League bow tonight against high-flying Everton, knowing that a win would be  a great springboard for them to ease their relegation woes. However, it will be no easy task as Everton have their eyes on a place in the top four and will be heading to the Hawthorns all guns blazing.

The Toffees are in fine form and would love to spoil Mel's party. Everton's on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku enjoyed so much joy in the Midlands last season and almost rejoined the Baggies in the summer, but chose the Toffees instead. His move has already been vindicated, although he has only scored in the league once since November. He will be praying he can end his drought in familiar surroundings.

West Brom start the game three points off the drop zone, but victory would send them hurtling above rivals Aston Villa into 10th. What a start to life with the Baggies that would be. The past four Baggies managers have avoided defeat in their first games in charge, but there are question marks surrounding the Spaniard's appointment. 

Mel, who was sacked by Real Betis in December, finds himself in another relegation battle. He left Betis rooted at the bottom of La Liga, but his overall record in Spain was good, prompting chairman Jeremy Peace to take a punt on him. Whether that move will pay off or not depends on the next 17 games.

Everton are one of the Premier League's surprise packages this season. Roberto Martinez has them playing wonderful attacking and winning football. They are right in the hunt for a Champions League place and most neutrals will fancy their chances of heading into the upcoming Merseyside derby ahead of Liverpool with victory tonight.

SQF Prediction: 1-3

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