West Brom vs. Tottenham Hotspur preview: Andre Villas-Boas is back at The Hawthorns

Michael Regan

The last time Andre Villas-Boas was at the Hawthorns he was managing Chelsea...for the last time.

The Hawthorns is a dark, dark place for Andre Villas-Boas. He has only been there once before and it didn't go well. His Chelsea team succumbed to West Brom, 1-0, and the Portuguese was promptly fired by Roman Abramovic, his reign at Stamford over.

On Sunday, Villas-Boas will return to the Hawthorns for the first time since that fateful day, this time the manager of Tottenham Hotspur and this team against a West Brom side that is a complete mess.

West Brom enter the weekend as winners of just two of their last 13 in all competitions and having taken just one point in the league since their Boxing Day win. The Baggies are an absolute disaster and yet their results are only a portion of their problems.

Peter Odemwingie, come on down.

The Nigerian responded to West Brom denying his transfer request by driving to Loftus Road. That, of course, would force the Baggies to sell him to Queens Park Rangers because football managers and chairmen usually respond well to bullying, especially Steve Clarke, who has always been one to being pushed around..

The result of Odemwingie's ploy was a drive back to West Bromwich and a day off after being excused from training. He also gets himself a day off on Sunday, when he will not be in the team against Spurs as the player and club decide whether he will ever put on a West Brom shirt again.

If he never does, Tottenham can use him because Tottenham can use anyone with the letters "FW" next to his name. Emmanuel Adebayor is still off with Togo at the Africa Cup of Nations and and Jermain Defoe was visibly injured in Spurs' midweek draw. That has forced the club to recall Harry Kane from loan, who fulfills the "FW" requirement.

Lewis Holtby should take some of the pressure off of Tottenham's non-existant strikers and after coming off the bench on Wednesday, he is expected to start at The Hawthorns. But as dreamy as Holtby may be, he is not a god* and may occasionally need help. At some point a striker will have to put the ball in between those white sticks at the end of the field.

* Or so we are told. I am dubious.

But as bad as Spurs' striker situation may be, none of them are named Fernando Torres and as a result, Vllas-Boas will take a better frontline to The Hawthorns than he did in his last visit. Hopefully that is enough to earn a different result.

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