Albion Finally Off The Mark.
It might not have been the prettiest game to watch but West Bromwich Albion picked up their first points and win of the season away at Norwich City.
There were controversial moments and Albion were not entirely at their best but the Baggies got the three points and that’s what counts.
From a Baggies perspective, hopefully the win against Norwich will be the result that kick-starts West Bromwich Albion’s season.
Long and Odemwingie
The game against the Canaries saw Albion field Shane Long upfront alongside Peter Odemwingie for the first time this season.
Both strikers will be a threat for any opposition and it was great to see Odemwingie back in action. The Nigerian may have missed a penalty in the second half but he certainly put himself about and gave the Norwich defence something to think about throughout the game.
Long has adapted to life in the Premier League very well and I have been very impressed with the way the former Reading striker has performed so far in an Albion shirt. If he continues his fine form, the Irishman may well turn out to be one of the signings of the season.
A lot has been said about what the best formation for the Baggies is. 4-5-1 was the main formation West Brom stuck with last season but this season has seen Roy Hodgson field a 4-4-2 formation.
Selecting 4-4-2 has seen Somen Tchoyi partner Shane Long in attack this season. Would Albion be better off going 4-5-1? Personally I feel 4-5-1 is the best formation for Albion but at the same time I do want to see more of the Odemwingie-Long partnership.
With 4-5-1, Albion can at least allow the likes of Chris Brunt, James Morrison, Graham Dorrans and Co to bomb on with Paul Scharner and Youssouf Mulumbu sitting in front of the back four. But then again both Scharner and Mulumbu like to get forward as well.
Without question, luck was with Albion on Sunday and there were a couple of things the Baggies got away with. Steven Reid was lucky to get away with only a yellow card after committing a ‘rugby’ tackle on Steven Morison in the second half.
And then of course Gabriel Tamas elbowed Norwich striker James Vaughan in the dying minutes of the game. Had referee Mark Halsey seen that, a penalty would probably have been given.
The Romanian has been charged with violent conduct and will probably miss the next three games. It will be interesting to see who will take Tamas’ place. Will Scharner move to centre-back or will Craig Dawson be given a chance against Swansea on Saturday?
Keeping a clean sheet against Norwich will please Roy Hodgson but there is still room for improvement. West Brom did show a lot of resilience on Sunday and they will need plenty of that for the remainder of the season. But like I have said, Albion can still improve.
Football is a results business and it was vital the Baggies got three points at Carrow Road. No matter how you play, getting the three points is all that matters.
Also a mention for Graham Dorrans as well. We saw on Sunday glimpses of the Dorrans we saw in the 2009/2010 Championship season. The Scotsman had a fine game and was unlucky not to score in the first half after hitting the post with a long range effort from 25 yards out.
Swansea next and the Swans will certainly provide a stern test for Albion. Brendan Rodgers’ side may be goalless in the Premier League but the likes of Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer will be a threat for Swansea.
Swansea were unlucky not to get a result at Arsenal and had Danny Graham had his shooting boots on, the Welsh side might have got a draw. West Brom will need to be at their very best to keep Sinclair and Dyer quiet but there is no reason why Albion cannot go to the Liberty Stadium and beat Swansea.
I would also like to send my condolences to Brendan Rodgers and his family after Brendan’s father sadly passed away on Saturday.