Have West Brom finally thrown away the yo-yo?
January 1, 2011 1 Comment
Before I begin can I just say a happy new year to all you football lovers. Without you guys reading our ramblings we wouldn’t be able to function…so thankyou!
As I sit here watching West Brom against Man Utd, still slightly inebriated from the New Year excursions, I wonder if West Brom have finally found the right style of football to stay in the country’s top divison?
Yes they may be one nil down after 2 minutes in this game but this season they have put in some seriously good performances.
Two seasons ago with Tony Mowbray in charge they played a free flowing game. Lots of passing trying to play the Arsenal brand of football. This is a wonderful style to watch but with the players they had then and, also at the age they were, it did not work. Mowbray was applauded for his approach and rightly so but did it come too early for some of his players? Players such as Chris Brunt, Yousouf Mulumbu, and James Morrison had yet to blossom and were still cagey in their performances. This wonderful passing game was not backed up with a solid defence and strong midfield and it ended up with them finishing in the bottom three and being relegated.
Many of the fans were happy with Mowbray’s approach but obviously wanted better results. I as a football fan was pleased that a manager of a promoted club was trying to play attractive football and not just going into all games trying not to concede. But this can only work if you get the results and this did not happen so Mowbray was shown the door.
And Morrison fires in an absolute screamer! Andy Gray says take a bow son. Sorry to go off track!
Roberto Di Matteo came in but didn’t change the style. Which, for the on looking lover of the beautiful game was definitely pleasing. What he did do though was add a steely determination to the side and also a defence that was hard to breech.
He has helped his young players progress into Premiership quality and brought through new youngsters as well. Graham Dorrans has come through and is now one of the hottest young players in the English top division.
The defence Di Matteo has built is protected by a really good player in Yousouf Mulumbu. His work rate and tackling is something that makes the team work. He can break down attacks and turn the side onto the front foot in one simply moment. It’s a shame he’s not English!
Last season in the Championship Roberto guided them to promotion behind a resurgent Newcastle side, but West Brom were equally impressive. And after such a good performance that season many said again, the same as many years before, that they were too good for the Championship. This time more than others I think they may have found the right balance of quality football and a sturdy defence.
Also last time they were in the Premiership they couldn’t score goals. With Roman Bednar and Ishmael Miller up top they didn’t have sufficient fire power and couldn’t finish off the wonderful passing moves that they tended to put together. And this season those two strikers are not getting a look in with Miller mainly on the bench and Bednar away on loan at Leicester. Don’t get me wrong they are both good players, quality in the Championship, but you need more in the top division.
The signing of Peter Odemwingie was a welcome one for both parties. He was having a torrid time at Lokomotiv Moscow with racial chants and abuse being thrown at him and the West Brom fans welcomed him with open arms even showing a banner combating a racist one shown by Lokomotiv fans which was disgusting and was rightly punished. He as a player has the quality to score goals in top leagues. He has pace and composure in the final third to create and finish chances. As i write this he places a penalty wide. I think I retire.
With the other quality signings that Di Matteo has made in Paul Scharner and Simon Cox from last year, I believe the baggies have enough in the whole squad to stay in the Premiership for a few years, if they keep with the same principals of their game. Lets hope this defencive injury crisis doesnt ruin them!
Quality and steel.