It’s been a while since I wrote my last article on The Baggies after their away defeat at Blackpool so I apologise for that. Final year University commitments!
The last five fixtures have seen Roberto di Matteo’s side pick up one point out of a possible fifteen. Now is the time for West Bromwich Albion to show their character and start picking up points again.
Saturday proved to be yet another frustrating day at the office for the Albion as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of their bogey team Stoke City. I will get slated for this but I did not expect Albion to get anything from the game and in the end I was proved right.
There are bound to be West Brom fans who are now starting to get concerned with the club’s recent form and rightly so. The game at Bloomfield Road is now proving to be a turning point in West Brom’s season in my opinion.
Since the Blackpool game, there have been decisions that have gone against Albion and I just hope these decisions do not prove to be costly come the end of the season.
The first half against Stoke was a dour spectacle and both sides failed to force Scott Carson or Asmir Begovic into saves. That’s how bad the half was.
The game came to life early in the second half when Stoke were awarded a penalty. Carson was judged to have tripped Kenwyne Jones inside the penalty box but looking at the replays I personally feel Jones went down too easy and there was minimal contact.
Matthew Etherington dispatched the penalty and The Potters went one-nil up. Somen Tchoyi came on in the second half and Albion did improve slightly.
The Cameroon international did force Begovic into a save and his height certainly gave the Stoke defenders something to think about. Just makes you wonder whether Tchoyi should have started the game.
Stoke were then given a second penalty five minutes from time when Simon Cox was penalised for blocking Dean Whitehead inside the area. Jon Walters made no mistake from the spot and that was game set and match to The Potters.
To rub salt into the wounds for West Brom, Stoke added a third through Walters. A 3-0 defeat at home was the last thing Roberto di Matteo wanted.
Stoke will argue that it was about time they had the rub of the green after they had decisions that went against them earlier in the season. Three straight victories for Stoke and they appear to have got over their early season struggle.
The Baggies failed to create any clear cut chances and Begovic did not have much to do. The only goal threat for Albion in my view was Peter Odemwingie. The Nigerian was the only one who I felt could create something out of the blue.
Odemwingie will always be a threat to any defence but its fair to say that there were times against Stoke where he did not have enough support when it was needed from the other players.
Jerome Thomas did not have the best of games and I would consider playing Tchoyi ahead of Thomas at Everton. I would also think about giving Graham Dorrans a start. We have not seen the best of Dorrans yet but the Scot will come good in the Premiership.
I am concerned about the lack of creativity based on what I have seen in the last five games. Albion have got the players but the side have failed to create a number of clear cut chances in recent times.
In my view I feel that di Matteo should think about including Tchoyi and Dorrans in the starting XI at Goodison Park.
I also feel that Albion did miss Chris Brunt as well as Jonas Olsson at the back. Losing Olsson was a huge blow for West Brom but fingers crossed he will be back soon.
Albion need to pick themselves up and start picking up points. Now is the time for them to show their character and get back to winning ways.
Everton have not exactly pulled up any trees but they do have quality players in their side with the likes of Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill and Phil Jagielka. Winning at Arsenal and getting a point at Old Trafford will give Roberto di Matteo and his side belief that they can get something from the game at Goodison Park.
Can they get anything from the game against Everton? I don’t see why not.
Newcastle will be coming to The Hawthorns after the game against Everton and this will be a fixture that Albion will be looking to get three points from.
Two mouth-watering Midlands derbies against Aston Villa and Wolves in December is something to look forward to as well. The game against Wolves could be one of the biggest games of the season for both sides.
The positive thing for Albion is that they are still above the relegation zone and that a win would take them into the top half of the table. It is still pretty tight and one win will get Albion’s season back on track. Where that win will come from I don’t know.
All is not lost for The Baggies and from what I have seen this season; there are far worse sides than Albion in the Premiership. West Brom need to start getting results otherwise they will find themselves in the relegation zone sooner rather than later.
Keep The Faith and let’s get behind the players! Up The Baggies!