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West Bromwich Albion
Posted by Matthew Evans on 02/15/2012

But if they did, this past Sunday is what they would be like. Does it get much better than going to your local rivals, in a big match, and winning 5-1, with your previously out of form striker grabbing a hat trick and the opposition's ex player scoring on his debut?

I don't think it does. The display put on by Albion was pretty much the complete performance, the only blemish being the Steven Fletcher goal just before half-time that gave Wolves fans the slightest glimmer of hope in a match dominated by West Bromwich Albion.

I've felt that Albion have been very close to giving a side a good beating recently, in previous home games we've wasted so many chances and had some very poor refereeing decisions go against us. Against Wolves, a clinical nature and a bit of luck returned to the Albion frontline, led so impressively by Marc Antoine Fortune.

Albion lined up in a 4-5-1 formation, with Paul Scharner returning to the centre of midfield alongside Youssuff Mulumbu with Liam Ridgwell in for a debut at Left Back, and Peter Odemwingie on the right-hand side of midfield. The game got off to a blistering start, with Wayne Hennessey making a fantastic save in the 2nd minute to deny Jerome Thomas from close range, the first of a series of impressive saves by Hennessey.

The big Welshman was tested at the corner by a Liam Ridgwell volley at the near post, with Marc Antoine Fortune then sending the ball wide of the far post with a curled effort that Scharner nearly got a touch on to divert the ball goalwards. Albion continued to drive forward, Odemwingie put through after good work from Scharner and Fortune, Hennessey tipping his shot away and Odemwingie blazing the rebound over. But he soon made amends for this, cutting in from the right and smashing the ball left-footed towards the goal, the ball deflecting off David Edwards and into the net.

Odemwingie again tested Hennessey as Albion looked to be heading in at half time with a thoroughly deserved 1-0 lead. However, just before half-time Wolves had what seemed to be an innocuous throw in on the right hand side, but after good work from Doyle and Ebanks Blake, Fletcher worked himself a yard of space before half-volleying the ball past Ben Foster. At this point, it seemed like the familiar pattern was kicking. A series of saves or wasted chances from the Baggies and then the opposition scoring with their first shot of the half.

Although Wolves did emerge in the 2nd half with a big more vigour in their play, Albion still looked very dangerous on the counter attack and it was they who grabbed the 3rd goal of the match. James Morrison sent in a corner which Jonas Olsson headed back across the goal to his centre-back partner Gareth McAuley who looped a header onto the post. Following a scramble the ball rebounded off the head of Keith Andrews, on for Scharner at half-time, Olsson controlling beautifully before volleying the ball towards goal, Hennessey fumbling it over the line.

Wolves very nearly had an equaliser soon after, but Ben Foster pulled a save out of the top drawer to deny Fletcher. From the resutling corner, Youssuff Mulumbu headed a Roger Johnson onto the bar, Foster claiming the ball and releasing Odemwingie who skinned two Wolves defenders in one go before seeing his shot cleared off the line.

However Odemwingie didn't have long to wait for his 2nd goal, again from a set piece. Ridgewell headed another Morrison corner back into the mix, Olsson back heeling the ball to Odemwingie who twisted and sent the ball nestling into the bottom corner. Wolves seemed to lose heart and Albion went in for the kill impressively, James Morrison receiving the ball on the right hand side and working his way into the Wolves box. His cutback avoided everyone but Keith Andrews ran onto the ball and drove it into the net, with the aid of a deflection. The Irish International was booed throughout his 45 minutes on the pitch by his former club, and he certainly enjoyed the celebrations that ensued.

That wasn't the end of the scoring, Fortune holding the ball up before putting Morrison in, he ran at the Wolves defence before squaring the ball to Odemwingie to complete his hat-trick and wrap up a superb Albion performance.

This performance probably left many fans wondering why it has taken Hodgson so long to use a 4-5-1 formation when it is clearly very effecitve and why we can't play like that at home? Do I care for these questions? No I don't. This should be the springboard for Albion to kick on, particularly at home.

We have found a formation that works, Peter Odemwingie seems to be back in form and some of our injured players are coming back. Things are looking up for the Albion!

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David Young Matthew Evans: I've supported West Brom all my life, and it's fair to say that they give me my fair share of ups and downs. I'm always guaranteed an emotional rollercoaster of a season whatever division the Baggies are in. I try to remain positive in my views on Albion, although that is impossible at some points. My favourite Albion player of the moment is Youssuff Mulumbu, and of my lifetime it has to be Super Bob Taylor.You can follow me on twitter @MattEvansWBA

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