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A huge week for West Brom! And Pepe Mel!
Can he lead Albion to safety?

A huge week for West Brom! And Pepe Mel!

After 3 seasons of consistent mid-table finishes, memorable home victories and spectacular away days (notably the 2-2 vs Aston Villa in October 2011 and the 5-1 vs Wolves in February 2012). Is reality setting in for the Baggies? Is this the level that they are supposed to be playing at? Just above the relegation zone? After the final whistle was blown at Villa Park last Wednesday, I could feel the worry and disappointment descend on what was an extremely vociferous Baggies support for most of the night. Walking out of the stadium being taunted by the Aston Villa fans who always made sure fans of West Brom know that they are bigger and better (which set of fans do not gloat after a derby victory?), especially during the ‘yo-yo’ years of the ‘noughties’. It felt like them days again. But is this just a minor blip?

2013 was a bad year for West Brom, Peter Odemwingie starting off the mayhem with his outspoken tweets, Everton stealing Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea on deadline day,  Stephane Sessegnon’s seemingly endless failings in front of goal. This of course resulted in the sacking of Steve Clarke, a man who I’d say was never disliked, but not extremely well-liked, this was mainly resulted from the widely-held opinion that his interviews were somewhat…harmless, but dour. 

In has come a completely new style of head coach for the Baggies compared to former unobtrusive coaches such as current England manager, Roy Hodgson, this new style comes in the form of the Spaniard Pepe Mel. Albion have taken two points from a possible 9 during Mel’s reign so far, not an amazing return, but both points were taken from Everton and Liverpool who before Kolo Toure proceeded to pass the ball straight to Victor Anichebe, looked at ease dealing with the attacking ‘threat’ Albion posed.

After a good result against Liverpool following that disastrous night at Villa Park, Mel needs to start picking up wins from somewhere, starting with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. The defeat at Villa Park was just about acceptable for most West Brom fans mainly due to the fact that the performance was not actually that bad, many, including myself blame the defeat on a shoddy defence including Diego Lugano and Steven Reid, who’s weaknesses were exemplified for the full 90 minutes in the game. Thankfully, Mel seemed to have learnt before the Liverpool game that playing Gareth McAuley and Billy Jones is the right answer. Despite this, because of the injury to Jonas Olsson to which he sustained against Liverpool. Lugano is likely to return to partner Gareth McAuley…

If Albion do pick up a win, it is likely that they will shoot up the league table back into ‘safety’ rather than be languishing near the bottom, however, a loss for the new head coach and further doubts over West Brom’s Premier League future will be cast…

About Thomas Cannon

I am a Film and Television student currently at the University of Derby. My aspirations include writing for sports, both in a journalistic and opinionated (blogs) manner along with writing scripts for films or television. In terms of football, I am a huge West Bromwich Albion fan!
  • Andrew Williams

    Did Albion play ‘well’ though against Everton/Liverpool, or were those two teams under-performing?

    • Thomas Cannon

      Defensively, yes. I know that the defensive performance against Villa was hapless, but it was still an improvement. I did criticise Lugano in this article, but he looked solid enough in the Liverpool game. Attacking wise, the pressing game that Mel has tried to put incorporate in WBA’s game is still being moulded together. Yes, the goal against Liverpool was lucky, but it did come from the Albion pressing against the Liverpool defence!

    • Tom Cannon

      Defensively, yes. I know that the defensive performance against Villa was hapless, but it was still an improvement. I did criticise Lugano in this article, but he looked solid enough in the Liverpool game. Attacking wise, the pressing game that Mel has tried to put incorporate in WBA’s game is still being moulded together. Yes, the goal against Liverpool was lucky, but it did come from the Albion pressing against the Liverpool defence!

      • Andrew Williams

        Well everyone knows the way to beat Liverpool is heavy pressure! Well…everyone but Tottenham.

        • Tom Cannon

          Will have to write about Liverpool. Title race is exciting this year!