If there was ever a good time to play West Brom then this is probably it. With two points and only two goals from four games it’s only the hapless Newcastle that separates them from rock bottom. It’s still early days, four games in is way too early to start drawing solid conclusions about how a team’s season is likely to unfold, but new man in charge Alan Irvine won’t be happy with the way things have gone so far, or I should hope he’s not anyway.
Ideye, Berahino and Anichebe has got potential as a strikeforce, we know from experience that Chris Brunt has a left foot of quality and Morrison has also done us damage in the past. None of those though are currently in effective form and elsewhere there’s little to give one pause. Dawson (no not that one), Dorrans, Olsson and Samaras (yes, that one!). Blimey. The home crowd was getting on the players back during the defeat to Everton at the weekend with the aforementioned Brunt getting particular stick.
Leading our attempt to ensure that Saido Berahino’s brace on the opening day of the season remain West Brom’s only goals of the season at 3:30pm on Sunday will be our new skipper, Younes Kaboul. No-one was more surprised than me to hear the news that the big man had been given the official nod from Pochettino as he appears to have been edging closer to the exit door than the armband ever since his return from injury at the end of last season. It may be that it’s just a piece of psychology from the manager, perhaps he thinks that giving Kaboul a bit of responsibility will focus his ever wandering mind. We’ll see.
Apart from the reintroduction of Vertonghen in place of Chiriches it’s unlikely there’ll be any changes from the side that drew at Sunderland at the weekend. Adebayor, Eriksen, Lamela and Chadli stole the headlines and they’ll be given another chance to prove that they’re gaining an understanding of each other’s strengths and preferences. Perhaps this week we’ll see the goal that Lamela must be gagging for, who’d have guessed that Nacer Chadli would be showing him how?
In midfield Stambouli is looking good for a permanent place in the side before too long but he may have to wait for the moment. Dembele and Capoue played well enough last week to start together on Sunday.
On paper we should win comfortably. However the memories of defeats against Wigan, Wolves and Fulham to name but three in the last few years should be fresh enough that we know not to take anything for granted.
Kevin Friend is due to referee. COYS.
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