August 30, 2011
In my last post, I asked will the Albion ever beat Stoke? After witnessing Sunday’s game, I have now decided that we won’t. I’ve spent these last two days regaining some composure before posting about the match, because after Sunday I just didn’t have the will to talk about the game beyond a couple of obscenity-filled tweets and facebook posts.
But now I’ve had a chance to move on, had a look at the highlights of the game and come to a couple of conclusions about the game, the tactics employed by Albion and certain individual’s performances.
August 26, 2011
“I’m not superstitious about records. When somebody gives me a statistic saying we haven’t won somewhere in goodness knows how long, I see it as an opportunity to put it right. "
And Hodgson certainly did begin to put some records straight when he arrived at Albion last year, with victories over Aston Villa and Liverpool the most noticeable. He also did what is pretty much unimaginable to most Albion fans, he took a point from Stoke. It’s fair to say we don’t have the best record against Stoke, 2 wins from 29 matches to be precise, which is why they probably sing “We always beat West Brom.”
On paper it’s difficult to see why Albion have such a poor record against Stoke, as looking at the squads of both two teams not even the most ardent supporter of either side could claim huge superiority over the other. But when it comes down to the match, we just can’t seem to do it.
August 21, 2011
I don’t intend on pretending that we should all be happy with this result, as it was clear even from Match of The Day highlights that are so often edited to suggest the “small” club did nothing of significance in the game, which the Baggies could have taken something from this game. Had Shane Long managed to square the ball into the path of Somen Tchoyi with the goal at his mercy, Albion would have been 2-0 up at Stamford Bridge and in dream land. As it is, the otherwise impressive Irishman failed to find Tchoyi and we all know what happened next.
However, I never expected to be coming away from a loss to Chelsea away from home disappointed, surely this should be of some encouragement to the fans. The way we normally perform against Chelsea it is a relief to get a way without our goal difference being significantly affected.
August 19, 2011
Ahead of Saturday’s clash with Chelsea, Albion fans received some great news as the club confirmed that last season’s top goal-scorer Peter Odemwingie had put pen to paper on a new three year deal at the club following a whole summer of speculation regarding the Nigerian’s future. And now we can look forward to a potentially dangerous frontline of Peter Odemwingie and Shane Long.
It may be stating the obvious, but it was absolutely vital that Albion managed to tie Odemwingie down to a new contract. In the previous four seaons Albion played Premiers League football it was obvious what they were missing, a goal-scorer. And the one year that we did have a goal-scorer, Robert Earnshaw in the great escape season, The Baggies stayed in the premiership.
August 15, 2011
A wise man once said, what doesn’t hurt you can only make you stronger. And that is the attitude we should take to Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Man United. Although the loss was disappointing, it is not these fixtures that will define the season, it is picking up points against those clubs in and around us that is important, although getting points against the “big” clubs is always nice.
Roy Hodgson will no doubt have been encouraged by many areas of the game, both from a team and individual standpoint, which merited a draw in his and many other’s opinion. For the first 30 minutes, Albion had to withstand heavy pressure from United and the new-look frontline of Somen Tchoyi and Shane Long were forced to feed on scraps and the midfield forced to battle for every ball. And no Albion fan can argue that United deserved their lead when the outstanding Wayne Rooney fired a shot between the legs of Gabriel Tamas and past the unsighted Ben Foster, although there was doubt over whether Ashley Young was in an onside position at the beginning of the move.
August 12, 2011
When West Brom fans saw the opening weekend’s fixtures, there was little surprise to them that Albion were dealt a tough hand. Last season Albion started the league season away at champions Chelsea, this time they start the season at home to champions Manchester United but the good news is that West Brom don’t have to play Chelsea until the 2nd game of the season.
Last seasons’ fixtures against the champions do offer some encouragement however. Albion were the only club to take anything from Old Trafford and in the return fixture they were outstanding with Jerome Thomas essentially ushering Gary Neville into retirement and onto our TV’s. Of course there have been changes to both sides over the summer, and there is no doubt Albion will be weary of the threat posed in particular by Ashley Young, Nani and Antonio Valencia. News coming from the club suggests that Steven Reid is struggling to be fit for the game, so summer recruit Billy Jones may have to be handed a debut at right back in his place.
August 10, 2011
What can West Brom fans expect from the new season? Well that question is always a tough one, such are the dramatic peaks and troughs the Baggies go through. At the start of last season, it was to avoid relegation, after the first couple of months Albion were riding high in the table and a top 10 finish looked a possibility. Then came a winter slump which eventually led to the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo, which seemed unthinkable earlier in the season. Roy Hodgson replaced Di Matteo and was left with a very tricky 10 game run-in to save Albion’s season, which Hodgson so emphatically did Albion being safe before the final home game of the season. See what I mean about peaks and troughs?
I expect there to be a few changes to Albion this season under Hodgson’s leadership, now he has had a full pre-season and some of a transfer window to stamp his own mark on the squad. There is one area in particular that Hodgson will look to focus on, and that is the defence. When he arrived at the Baggies, goals were being leaked left, right and centre. Whilst Albion weren’t exactly water-tight under Hodgson, his influence was already clear in the short space of time he had to work with the squad.