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PRESS PREVIEW: WEST BROMWICH ALBION

12 January 2018

Rex/Shutterstock
Jay Rodriguez, Chris Brunt and Salomon Rondon in action for West Bromwich Albion.

Ahead of Brighton & Hove Albion's meeting with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns tomorrow afternoon, Joe Champan of the Birmingham Mail gave us the lowdown on the Baggies.

An assessment of the season so far?

"Out of all of the club’s seasons in the Premier League, it’s been the most difficult for sure. I think the winless run tells you all you need to know about how they’ve struggled. 

"In the summer after the transfer window, everyone seemed quite pleased with the business that had been done. They bought Kieran Gibbs, Gareth Barry and Jay Rodriguez who all had Premier League experience and then they added Oliver Burke who has a lot of potential and pace, which is what they were missing.

"Journalists and fans thought it was job well done in the summer. They won their first few games and it was going well. 

"But then the run began– which actually started at the Amex. They drop points when ahead and when they’re level. The West Ham game was huge and they took the lead. They were playing well but then they got hit with a late goal and that’s the worst time to concede. This weekend’s game is a must win."

Has Alan Pardew changed much? What’s he tried to implement? Much different from Tony Pulis? 

"I think Tony Pulis’ reign was seen as a ‘be careful what you wish for’ scenario in terms of fans wanting him to leave the club. But supporters wanted a change and they had to be brave as they had gone 12 without a win and a new direction was needed.

"But they’ve only won once in nine matches and that was in the FA Cup away to Exeter City, so we still seem to be waiting for a new manager bounce which hasn't seemed to have arrived. 

"It’s a small consolation but the football has improved and they had plenty of chances in his first game in charge – he knows he wants his side to attack but he doesn’t have the resources at the moment.

Only scored four league goals since Pardew took over – why are the side goal shy?

"
The ‘goals for’ column doesn’t make great reading because they can’t take chances and they need to address that during this transfer window. 

"Confidence is massive and there was an anxiety at the weekend against Exeter City – the two goalscorers started arguing after they’d both scored when they were awarded a penalty – it was taken off them and it was missed [by Hal Robson-Kanu]. 

"Their strikers, combined, haven’t reached double figures and then injuries to key players like James Morrison haven’t helped. He's been missing for a while, and he’s an influential player.

"Nacer Chadli is also out until March and Matt Phillips has been in and out – so they’ve been reliant on players in certain areas and there hasn’t been the creativity that they’ve needed."

One to watch?

"Chris Brunt,
probably – he’s been at the club for ten years now.

"He pulls the strings and he’s been at the club long enough to know what’s needed. He plays week-in week-out and he still seems to have the ability to find players in-between defences and he’s still the go-to man when it comes to creating chances."

Four points from safety – will they stay up? 

"This month and the transfer window are so vital and I wish you could ask me again on the 1st February! It’s a crucial time and they need at least a couple of players in the attacking areas. 

"It’s incredible that they’re not totally adrift already - the table is remarkable. If they win a couple then they fly up the league but it’s difficult to see where that would come from. I can see them struggling – if they do stay up, I think it will go right down to the wire."


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