Last saturday's draw with Wigan would have shown both Roy Hodgson and the Albion fans an awful lot. Let's not beat about the bush, West Brom were shocking last weekend. It was one of those games that Albion have so often found themselves involved in, dominating only to be hit with a sucker punch. So for once, it was nice to have the shoe on the other foot.
But despite the point, this did hide some glaring problems with the Albion side and areas which will need strengthening in the summer. Let's look at some of the lessons learned from last Saturday;
Jonas Olsson is a massive presence in the Albion side: This is probably the least surprising lesson for Baggies fans. You only have to look at Albion's record without Olsson in the side to realise that they miss him. It is not just his leadership or defensive qualities that Albion miss, but also his ability to bring the ball out of defence. Gareth McAuley is a fantastic centre half, but his distribution is not in the same league as Olsson's. Further to this, despite Albion's notable improvement defensively, Olsson's absence is still sorely noticed. The club must do everything they can to sign Olsson up to a long-term deal.
Nicky Shorey is not good enough: I did not think that I'd be saying this last season, Shorey looked like a solid, dependable, consistent premier league quality player. He has even had a few decent games this season but for the most part Shorey has looked poor. Shorey was being beaten by Victor Moses every time on saturday, he was both too slow and not strong enough to deal with the winger. And even his technical ability, which normally shines through even amongst his defensive errors, was nowhere to be seen. In comparison to the games Liam Ridgewell has played at left back, it proves to me who the better player is. Shorey needs to be replaced in the summer to provide competition for Ridgewell.
Ben Foster needs to be signed up...NOW!: Once more, Ben Foster put in a man of the match performance at the DW stadium. Foster has made very few errors this season, and has saved Albion on numerous occassions, exactly what you want from your keeper. Couple this with his outstanding distribution skills that have also helped initiate multiple Albion counter-attacking moves this season, Albion have got one of if not the best keeper outside of the top 7. A lot will depend on how Foster's parent club, Birmingham City, do in the run-in. The media suggests Albion are keen to tie up a deal for Foster, and even if Birmingham come back up, you have to hope Albion will push the boat out to land Foster!
And finally Don't get on Coach 15 if you are going to Wigan, it's a long, slow and painful journey both there and back!
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