In the words of Ed Milliband

Tony Pulis and West Brom on Saturday afternoon. Shall we just pencil in a 1-1 draw and move on? Hell no! There’s a win to be had.

If a McAuley falls in the forest?

Perceived wisdom is that we’ll be met at the Hawthorns by the traditional Pulis formation of a big lad up front (Rondon), a couple of tricky wingers (McLean and Phillips) and a small copse of human sustainable forest at the back (McAuley, Evans, Olsson and Dawson) and as I know no different, that’s the formation and line up I’d expect. Knowing what’s round the corner isn’t the same as dealing with it though, we’ve beaten West Brom just once in six games remember.

They love Chadli madly

Somewhere in that rather rough looking mixed salad of a line up detailed above will be sprinkled the delicate flavour of Nacer Chadli. Our favourite large nosed Belgian has had a whirlwind start to his Baggie career, 3 goals already! When asked why Chadders had been offloaded Poch replied that Nacer had asked to leave so that he might get more football thus Mo let him Go. Revealing in that when Son asked the same question he was asked to reconsider despite the potentially larger profit margin.

Pick your battles

Last week’s win over the Bank of Abu Dhabi XI was based on aggression. Lots of it. Are those the same tactics to use on Saturday? City wanted possession, we denied them, but will West Brom really care? Their plan will be to break on us through Phillips, McLean and Nacer probably via the long hoof tactic spurned by City last week. Turn the full backs and put them under pressure.

Thus a different attitude and game plan is likely to be required. Perhaps all of Janssen (scorer of a fine goal against Belarus during the week for those not aware), Sissoko and Dier may be needed? Poch was coy when discussing those returning from internationals suggesting that we may have a few doubtfuls we don’t know about as well as Dembele and the still crocked Kane. And he’s got what is looking to be a very difficult game against Leverkusen next week to consider. Plus jet lag. Who’d be in his shoes?!

Line up lottery

All these factors and our depth of squad make it hard to predict our eleven but here’s a guess –

Hugo, Walker, Rose, Toby, Vertonghen, Wanyama, Dier, Alli, Eriksen, Son, Janssen

Remember the use of the word ‘guess’ in that last sentence.

Wouldn’t three points be lovely?

The referee is Kevin Friend.


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