Published: 12:30 BST, 13 September 2020 | Updated: 14:21 BST, 13 September 2020
Newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion kick-off their Premier League campaign against Leicester City as the Foxes look to bounce back from missing out on top four at the end of last season.
Slaven Bilic will be desperate to get off to a fast start after their promotion last season but will face a tough challenge against Brendan Rodgers’ side at the Hawthorns.
Sportsmail’s KISHAN VAGHELA will provide live coverage of West Brom vs Leicester – including live score, lineups and build-up.
So far, so good for WBA – Leicester haven’t been able to get through their cautious formation, and Diangana has had a couple of moments on the break.
Not much intensity about the game though and it’s probably understandable. First day of the season and barely anyone in the ground to see it.
The following free-kick is deflected behind with West Brom yet to test Schmeichel despite their control of the ball.
First booking of the day goes to James Justin, and he is lucky the team punishment was not more extreme.
A lovely ball over the top catches Justin out and he hauls down Furlong just outside the area. VAR has a quick look but a free-kick in a dangerous area is the situation.
Ndidi is really struggling at the heart of the Foxes defence as they are caught again by the West Brom attack.
Very little of the visitors on the front foot despite their keen use of Justin and Castagne.
And just as I say that, the hosts come to life and begin to test the visitors’ defence.
Robinson does well to sneak in behind Soyuncu but cannot find a team-mate, with Diangana also linking well with his new team-mates.
This WBA line-up screams ‘we need new players’. Slaven Bilic hasn’t picked an orthodox centre-forward, and he’s gone with a back three, which was never his preference last season.
Bilic also added in his programme notes that Albion need three or four more players. Given the financial restrictions, he’ll be lucky to get them.
Ndidi may be known for his solid distributon in midfield but here in defence he overhits a pass back to Kasper Schmeichel to concede a cheap corner.
Couple of shaky moments in the Leicester defence early on but the visitors have since put a few passes together and allowed Justin to get forward on the left, adjusting from the right with new signing Timothy Castagne playing there.
Positive start from the hosts, and Grady Diangana looks to cause problems but is caught offside early on as he shoots at goal.
Leicester City have their very, let’s say interesting, maroon kits on at the Hawthorns, but it is the home side who get us underway for their first top-flight game since 2018.
The players are coming out of the tunnel here at the Hawthorns ahead of the first game of the first Super Sunday of 2020/21.
Wilfried Ndidi will be playing as part of the Leicester City defence today, so can the Baggies exploit him there?
Brendan Rodgers to Sky Sports: ‘I thought last season the team did great to finish in the top six, we were disappointed but we showed moments with potential.
Rodgers also claims the club are still active in the transfer market, with the hosts without a win away from home since the beginning of 2020.
Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana formed an excellent partnership in the Championship last season, with the former managing 16 assists last season.
Will they be the duo who can go against the odds and help keep the Baggies up?
Leicester have not won any of their last four opening-weekend Premier League games – including a 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2019-20
West Brom only lost seven games in the Championship last season but took just three points from their final four Championship games.
‘There is a representation worldwide, there is a clear message with the Advisory Board as what needs to change and uniting and saying what we don’t condone to bring in equality.’
Darren Moore on the management committee of the PFA and the former West Brom boss says the Premier League have taken adequate steps but more change needs to be on the way in football.
Tim Cahill similarly feels a series of levels and a holistic approach is needed to help the next generation.
An extremely moving production from Sky Sports on the Black Lives Matter movement, which has highlighted the problems that remain with racial equality today.
Players took the leader in yesterday’s Premier League fixtures, and the league is determined to support the movement as today will show
He’s back on the bench, but how much of an influence can James Maddison have today following a hip injury.
🗣 »He feels at home and the price tag on his shoulders I don’t think he feels it! » West Brom coach Slaven Bilic on signing Grady Diangana pic.twitter.com/fxP3cjh5tI
As highlighted by Opta, Jamie Vardy had 17 direct goal involvements from open play last season, the most for Leicester City.
However, the next highest goalscorer was Harvey Barnes, with just five. Whether Rodgers will look to the market to try and boost Leicester’s ruthlessness in front of goal remains to be seen.
But with Vardy now a year older, even if he may not play like a 33-year-old, the pressure very much lies on Iheanacho and Barnes to help the former England striker in pushing the team forward this season.
Slaven Bilic does hint that there is new formation for West Brom today to Sky Sports, with three at the back not really used by the Croatian in the Championship last season.
8 – The home side has never won in eight previous Premier League meetings between West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City (D2 L6) – only Bournemouth v Watford (10) has been played more in the competition without the home side ever winning. Inverse. pic.twitter.com/POsYzoc575
This looks like a different formation from the hosts, with Bilic possibly going with three at the back here.
📋 Our first XI of the season.Here’s the side Slaven Bilić has picked for the clash with @LCFC.#WBALEI | #WBA pic.twitter.com/Nn5QqQheaG
A debut for summer signing Timothy Castagne, as Jamie Vardy starts in his bid to challenge for the Golden Boot again this season.
While Gibbs may be a permanent fixture in Bilic’s plans, Kenneth Zohore could well be on the way out after failing to convince the Croatian boss.
Sheffield Wednesday are the front runners to sign the Dane, with talks over a loan move set to take place on Monday.
Once considered to be the next big thing at left-back for Arsenal, Kieran Gibbs has had his ups and down at West Brom.
Now that he is back in the Premier League, he is hoping to stay there and has likened Slaven Bilic’s approach to that of former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
They may be among many people’s favourites to head back down to the Championship this season, but West Brom return to Premier League action for the first time since 2018 today.
The feel good-factor of promotion is likely still to be running through their veins but also a wariness that the end of last season did not go quite to plan.
But while they face a difficult start at home to a side that were favourites to be playing Champions League football this season for much of 2019/20, the Baggies will hope that under Slaven Bilic they can give a good account of themselves this time around.
It is something that Leicester City did not struggle with at all last season, but following the disappointing end to the 2019/20 campaign, Leicester will be looking for a fast start against their Midlands rivals.
The Foxes were in the top four for most of last season before a late collapse saw them end fifth.
The club have not been overly active in the transfer market, signing Timothy Castagne from Atalanta and selling left-back Ben Chilwell to Chelsea.
But they have secured the future of James Maddison and that will prove to be a huge boost for Brendan Rodgers.
The Premier League is well underway now after the four games to have taken place on Saturday.
But Sunday is started by West Midlands vs East Midlands, as newly-promoted West Brom host Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City.
Join me, Kishan Vaghela, as I take you through the build-up and 90 minutes at the Hawthorns.
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West Bromwich Albion F.C., Leicester City F.C., Premier League, EFL Championship, Brendan Rodgers, Jamie Vardy
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