Friday, 11 August 2017

Rival Lines: "We've had woeful recruitment," says Albion til we die

Rival Lines
Match Preview: WBA v AFCB
Blogger Interview
Albion til we die
Twitter @albiontillwedie

Okay, we are back on Rival Lines and fully getting to grips with the new season. First up is a chat that I had with Mark Thomas at Albion til we die. West Brom almost astonished everyone with how they played last season, but the way they finished the season was very surprising an Mark has some pointers as to why they may have fallen away and how they may fall a bit short of a top 10 finish this coming season.

CC: How pleased were you to see Jay Rodriguez leaving Southampton to come to WBA and what of the other signings this summer?

ATWD: If we can keep him fit I think Rodriguez could turn out a very good signing. We are desperately lacking quality attacking players and the former Saints man gives us something different to what we have had the last couple of years.

As for the other signings…. even by our recent poor standards our player recruitment has been woeful this summer. Apart from Rodriguez we've only brought in Ahmed Hegazy, an Egyptian defender that has no experience whatsoever of English football. The jury is most definitely out on him at present.

CC: Darren Fletcher left the club to join Stoke City, while Craig Gardner also left for Birmingham City. Are you disappointed to lose these players?

ATWDFletcher was a superb leader, a true captain on and off the pitch. However, his performances over the last 12 months were on the whole poor. All too often he was the man guilty of losing possession of the ball to the opposition.

Craig Gardner meanwhile always gave 100% but in all honesty he simply wasn't good enough for the Premier League although in his defence he was played out of position more often than not.

If we sign a couple of decent midfielders to replace them then they won't be missed. Whether the club do that is a totally different question.

CC: What do you put the reason down for West Brom's sudden drop off in form at the end of last season when they were closing in on Everton, but then found points hard to come by?

ATWDA combination of a couple of things I think. Firstly, because we have such a small and aging squad it was perhaps natural that the players just simply ran out of steam towards the end of the season. The second reason is, I think Pulis has one target and one target only and that is survival. Once that is reached perhaps it's hard for him and the players to be as motivated as they were earlier in the season.

CC: Tony Pulis got WBA to play some pleasing football last season. Is Nacer Chadli, who Pulis seems delighted to have kept hold of, a main reason for that?

ATWDWe played some decent football for a couple of months before Christmas but apart from that and I've got to be honest, we put on some absolutely dismal displays, all too often not even having a meaningful shot on target during 90 minutes.

Nacer Chadli was excellent when he first joined but his performances slipped drastically as the season went on, perhaps in some part due to the way Pulis expects him to play. He really doesn't seem a Pulis-type player.

CC: Do you think Solomon Rondon will prove he is not a one-season wonder?

ATWDI've never been a Rondon fan and I think a growing number are starting to agree with me after giving him the benefit of the doubt during his first season. For a big man he gets knocked off the ball too easily, he doesn't hold the ball up well and his finishing especially with his feet is poor. Pulis playing him as a lone striker with little help probably makes him look worse than he is but I for one am hoping that we replace him during this summer.

CC: Is defence a bit of a worry with Pulis reported to be interested in players like Kieran Gibbs and Thomas Vaermalen?

ATWDYep, it's definitely a worry at the moment and I think the club see it that way too with them also reportedly interested in the likes of Chris Smalling, Ben Gibson and Phil Jones. Whilst Craig Dawson and Jonny Evans are two of the first names on the team sheet, question marks remain over the fitness of Gareth McAuley and over whether Ahmed Hegazy will adapt to English football. Add to that our perennial lack of a proper left-back and we most definitely do need reinforcements

CC: Who do you think will be West Brom's player of the season?

ATWDOf the players currently at the club and If he stays at The Hawthorns, and remains fit, Jonny Evans will surely be a contender. A superb defender who could quite easily play for a bigger club than ourselves.

CC: Has the team any major, long-term injuries?

ATWDNo, thankfully although we do seem to have a lot of niggly injuries that have affected the likes of Evans, McAuley, Morrison and Phillips. Not ideal really when some players have had little game-time during pre-season.

CC: Where do you think the Baggies will finish this coming season and where would you expect Bournemouth to finish?

ATID: I think it's going to be a struggle for us this season I really do unless we improve the quality of the team significantly over the next couple of weeks. Tony Pulis has of course got his record of never being relegated and perhaps that record will remain intact come next May but I'm sure that it won't be pretty. Being optimistic I'll say 16th.

As for Bournemouth I think you will probably have a similar season to last with maybe a mid-table finish.

CC: How do you expect WBA to line up against AFCB?

ATWDBarring a glut of new signings and injuries I'd imagine it will be a similar line-up that we've seen over the last couple of seasons - Foster in goal, Dawson, Evans, Hegazy and Nyom across the back, Livermore and Yacob the defensive midfielders with Chadli and Phillips out wide, Rondon up front with Rodriguez behind him.

CC: Thanks to Mark who has opened our eyes to more understanding of the West Bromwich Albion situation leading up to this match. You can read more words about the opposition at Albion til we die.

In other news, AFCB draw Birmingham City away in Carabao Cup (League Cup)

1 comment:

  1. I dont think for one moment that Pulis has only survival in mind. The players on the other hand need to be motivated beyond their paychecks. When money wasnt the focus for footballers pride was. Pride makes you bust a makes you lazy.