West Bromwich Albion
|DATE||Saturday 15th October 2016|
|West Bromwich Albion SQUAD||1.
2. Allan NYOM
3. Jonas OLSSON
4. Hal ROBSON-KANU
5. Claudio YACOB
6. Jonny EVANS
7. James MORRISON
8. Craig GARDNER
9. Salomon RONDON
10. Matt PHILLIPS
11. Chris BRUNT
13. Boaz MYHILL
14. James McCLEAN
18. Saido BERAHINO
19. Callum McMANAMAN
20. Brendan GALLOWAY
22. Nacer CHADLI
23. Gareth McAULEY
24. Darren FLETCHER
25. Craig DAWSON
38. Jack ROSE
40. Alex PALMER
45. Jonathan LEKO
47. Sam FIELD
49. Kane WILSON
Tony Pulis has come close to quitting West Bromwich Albion over the
criticism of what he is doing with the team and about new signings,
but his tenure still sees the club sitting comfortably mid-table.
While Pulis' history shows that he is clearly not everybody's cup of
tea, Albion fans only have to look a short distance to Villa Park to
be careful what they wish for.
While there is not a parade of stellar stars at the Hawthorns, there is a group of solid professionals, who have mostly plied their trade at other clubs before joining the Baggies. The latest addition of Hal Robson-Kanu came after the journeyman had a great Euros for Wales and proved he might be worth the free transfer fee to have a chance at top flight football again. He had experienced it with Reading and although he does not have a great goal-scoring to games ratio, he could add some physical presence to an Albion attack should Salomon Rondon be missing. That could be the case here, with the Venezuelan having been on international duty and the only other option up top would be to reintroduce the focus of a prolonged non-event of a transfer saga involving Spurs - Saido Berahino. The player missed much of a season and a half over the disputed move that he was priced out of by the Midlands club, but he needs to get his head down and show what he can do, either to stay with Albion or to earn a move away.
At the back, WBA have some experienced campaigners, with former Man U defender/midfielder Jonny Evans, Craig Dawson, Jonas Olsson, Gareth McAuley and Everton loanee Brendan Galloway. It is strange that the Toffees let Galloway out on loan, as he looked a decent prospect when he has played against Spurs, but perhaps Koeman had his own ideas about who would play in the back four at Goodison. McAuley and Olsson like a physical battle and playing Janssen up front may play into their hands, but he is capable of matching their strength and the goal in midweek for Holland will have boosted his confidence. The other full back Dawson is dangerous from corners, as he proved last season, but defensively, he is vulnerable to the break and players taking him on, so the need to get after him might produce some joy for Tottenham. Allan Nyom was brought in form Watford in the summer and is an attacking full back, but again, his defensive duties are not the main feature of his play, but he has pace and can recover lost positions on occasion.
Midfield sees Albion have a range of options. None less than the familiar face of Nacer Chadli, who is on a good run of goal-scoring after his move to the Hawthorns. On his day, he can be a dangerous opponent, but often, he withdraws into his shell and for a big man fails to use his strength. Maybe Pulis is working on that. Other options in midfield are Chris Brunt who missed the Euros with a knee ligament injury, but is now back and his partner in annoying the other team's player is Craig Gardner, who gives 100% to cover a huge amount of ground, but is also very good with free-kicks and long range shots. There are a couple of pantomime villains in the midfield, as Claudio Yacob picks up a yellow card regularly and James McClean sometimes sails close to the wind, with controversy a close neighbour in his career. James Morrison is a Scottish international and again dangerous when running at the defence, with the ability to hit the target from long range, while fellow winger Callum McManaman doesn't get regular playing time, with the emergence of Jonathan Leko from the Academy ranks.
Captain Darren Fletcher picked up a dead leg in Scotland's game against Slovakia and will face a late fitness test, but his drive is still there, despite his ageing legs and could be played around in midfield, with another new signing from QPR - Matt Phillips - will be wanting to prove that he has Premier League quality after having brief glimpses of the top flight with the Hoops and his former side Blackpool ,who he made a big impact with. Pacy and happy to play wide, he is another who has the knock of hitting the target with efforts from long range. He will be used to stretch the Spurs midfield and to give fresh legs to the middle section of the team.
Draws with bottom dwellers Stoke City and Sunderland in their last two games coming after an away defeat at Bournemouth may have been a disappointment after the meat in the sandwich of those fixtures being a 4-2 home win over West Ham United London. Their only other win was on the opening day at Crystal Palace, before the Eagles had got going, so they are suspect although Pulis always gets his team up for the visit of Tottenham Hotspur and the two draws against them last season were points we could have done without dropping.
This time, the team is just
getting into gear and the international break might have come with
Spurs unbeaten, but the players seemed to come through (hopefully)
without too many knocks and can get back to the day to day work of
picking up points. I think Tottenham are more than able to get
three points from this visit to the West Midlands, as long as they
don't take things for granted and realise that they will face a
feisty side who will give them a tough examination of their
|PREDICTION||West Bromwich Albion 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|LAST SEASON'S MEETING||For a look back at the match report, click here.|
|RESULTS HISTORY||Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with West Bromwich Albion|
ALBION TEAM NEWS :
Salomon Rondon will be checked for tiredness after travelling back from international duty in Venezuela, while Darren Fletcher (dead leg) will also face a late fitness test.
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Mousa Dembele will have a late test on his foot injury to see if he can play a part in the game at the Hawthorns. Harry Kane misses out, as he is still recovering from his ankle ligament strain. Some players coming back from international duty were also being looked at after picking up some minor worries.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Saturday 10th September 2016
Tottenham Hotspur - (-)
Kick off 15:00
|Chadli 81m 40s||Alli 88m 05s|
McClean (foul on Davies) 44
Evans (foul on Son) 90+4
Vertonghen (foul on Chadli) 54
Dembele (simulation) 86
|Crowd : 24,263||Weather : Sunny and cloudy|
|Referee : Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. J. Collin; Mr. D. Cann|
|Fourth Official : Mark Clattenburg|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Smethwick end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 8 minutes.|
|West Bromwich Albion :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Matt PHILLIPS (11
Chris BRUNT 69)
Hugo LLORIS (c)
Heung-Min SON 72)
9 Vincent JANSSEN
|Manager : Tony Pulis||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : UK K8||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
After the last ten minutes, a draw seems an acceptable result, but over the 90, it was a disappointment not to come away with all three, but West Bromwich Albion's manager Tony Pulis got his side putting in a performance that frustrated and showed that on their day, they are capable of stopping anyone playing. One goal was not the harvest you might have expected from the way we went about the game, but a familiar failing of not taking chances meant 1-1 was the final outcome.
International week had taken its toll on some of the Spurs players, with Dier and Son starting on the bench, with Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama pairing up as the defensive midfield duo and Ben Davies continuing in the left back role, with Rose nowhere to be seen. And it was the Tottenham full backs who were involved early on, pushing into West Brom territory and Toby Alderweireld was producing his trademark long diagonal passes. Dele Alli was also playing his advanced role and was causing mayhem, firstly letting the ball run, intending Vincent Janssen to get on the end, but it ran on to Foster and then almost getting on the end of a return pass from the Spurs centre-forward, but denied by Fletcher's intervention.
While the ball was being moved quickly to catch WBA out on the break, the shots were not yet testing Foster. Lamela finished a move started by Alderweireld and involving Janssen with a ball across goal which was not on target and didn't aim to pick out a Spurs shirt. After 15 minutes, Eriksen fired a shot from outside the box at Foster, who made a routine save, but the keeper would have been left helpless had Davies' volley from a cleared free-kick not taken a deflection and seen the ball fly over the bar. It took 25 minutes for Albion to have a go at goal, with Phillips heading over the top from a Nyom cross. Another deflection denied Spurs, when Janssen laid the ball back to Eriksen and the Dane's side-footed shot was taken wide by a nick off a defender.
Toby moved forward to strike a 30th minute shot wide, before Foster started staking his claim for man of the match, with quick movement off his line to thwart Dele Alli on the edge of his six yard box, after the ball had been moved across the pitch and Lamela had a shot that ran into Dele's path. Erik then played a free-kick into the box, with the ball bobbling about and Dele produced an overhead kick before the keeper took him out, but the ball went wide and the ref wasn't interested in the contact Foster made with our England international midfielder. Ben Davies seems intent on getting his first Spurs goal and came close with a low 25 yard drive that Foster had to dive full-length to turn around his right hand post.
When Alli was played through on Foster, running from the halfway line, it looked as though Tottenham might take the lead, but the keeper read Dele's intentions to bend the ball past him to the goalie's right and pushed the ball away. The Albion keeper made an even better save three minutes before the break, when he dived full length to touch an Eriksen shot from 20 yards out around the post, following good work on the break from Janssen and Alli. Alli got in the way of Evans' clearance and the ball dropped kindly for Vincent, who drove it at goal, only to see it blocked by a McAuley leg and then, just before the half-time whistle, Hugo had to be alert, as he saved from McClean, but the ball ran loose with Rondon looking to poke the rebound home, but Lloris was quick enough to recover and push the ball out of the West Brom striker's path.
The home side started the second half with a period of pressure that brought a couple of corners, but no end result, other than a yellow card for Jan Vertonghen, who showed there was no love lost with Nacer Chadli, who he fouled. There was more worry when Toby hit the floor and had to be taken off on a stretcher following a collision with Vertonghen and a knee injury resulting. Eric Dier was called on to replace Alderweireld and Albion started pressing to try and unsettle Spurs while they regrouped. It didn't prevent the flow towards the home goal though and the ball was moved through Alli, Janssen and Eriksen for Moussa Sissoko to shoot at goal, once more seeing the ball go wide off a deflection. Mousa Dembele replaced his namesake Sissoko and got stuck in, showing his foot injury was a thing of the past.
Albion were starting to break out of their defensive shell and when Nyom almost released Rondon, it took a speedy appearance from Kyle Walker to take the ball away from the striker. Alli hit a defender with a volley on 70 minutes, after another good build-up, then Son came on for Erik Lamela, who hadn't had his best game, although he covered a lot of grass as always. Eriksen hit the side-netting with a shot that came off a defender's leg ... just for a change. When WBA started to move forward, they did cause problems.
With a quarter of an hour left, Eriksen ran at the Albion defence and struck a shot that just dipped over the bar, after coming off a defender, but the home team broke from the corner and won a couple of their own. A few minutes later it was another corner that led to Albion taking the lead and the scorer could have been predicted by the majority of Spurs fans. A low cross was put out by Vertonghen, sliding across the near post and from the corner, a deep cross was volleyed at goal by McClean and Lloris did really well to get down at the post to push the ball onto the woodwork, but the ball ran to Chadli, who fired it high into the net past Hugo. The "law of the ex" strikes again.
But Tottenham almost drew level straight away, with Davies denied by a brave block in the area and then Janssen's swerving shot from 20 yards had Foster beating it down and lucky to grab the loose ball. When it looked like Spurs were going to be frustrated they suddenly produced a goal from nowhere. An attack went from the right to Son on the left side of the area. He went outside the man in front of him to the line, turned back, then found Eriksen just left of the penalty spot. His shot was blocked and he had the presence of mind to nudge the rebound to his right, where Dele Alli took a touch and then with the outside of his right foot put the ball the opposite way that the keeper and defenders were going, leaving McClean stranded on the line with the ball going in just inside the right hand post. It was a good response to going behind, as the Albion goal had got the crowd bouncing.
When Spurs took the ball off Rondon and broke through Son on the left, he was cynically pulled down by Evans as the South Korean went past him and the yellow card came out for the Baggies defender. From the dead ball on the left 25 yards out, Eriksen bent a shot in that was heading for the top corner, until Foster pulled another save out of the bag to tip the ball over for a corner. The resulting corner provided a last chance for Spurs, but it failed to beat the first man and the final whistle blew on a draw that in the end, was a point gained.
The draw against Albion last season was one of many which deprived the team from keeping in touch with Leicester and it was another game where the opposing goalkeeper was the man of the match. Spurs still need to find that killer touch and there were enough chances to win it - 20 shots to WBA's 8 and only 8 Spurs shots on target. The degree of possession also does not reflect the dominance in the final result. 71% shows that the home team were happy to conceded the ball and get men behind it to prevent Spurs making much of the possession.
Full credit to Nacer Chadli, for showing respect in not celebrating in front of the Tottenham end and he had a good game, without proving too much as to why he should have stayed at the club. Dele Alli shrugged off the better opportunities he had to put the ball away to finish the equaliser with cool precision, but we might not have needed the equaliser had some of the first half chances been converted.
I am not sure the pairing of Sissoko and Wanyama was a total success, but they broke up play and were keen to move the ball forward. By committing players when running straight at them, it make space for others and this proved the case when we scored. Son had an important hand in the goal and Eriksen will claim an assist.
Still unbeaten, but the target in the next few weeks will be to win games, rather than just take one point. With Manchester City drawing, a win could have taken us top, but that can wait until May !!
A good display, a handy point was better than none and some very good performances meant a good day's travels. Onto Germany the side go before visiting Bournemouth, who hit six today against Hull and cannot be underestimated.
Mick L. Ford
West Bromwich Albion were one of the leaders in innovation and introduced corner flags to their pitch in 1890. The flags were originally on brass poles with little ropes to raise them before the match and lower them after the final whistle.
The FA outlawed them in
1891 as a "danger to the well-being of gentlemen footballers".
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Crystal Palace||0||West Ham United London||1||Saturday|
|League Table 2016-17|
|12||West Bromwich Albion||8||2||4||2||9||8||10||+1|
|15||West Ham United London||8||2||1||5||9||17||7||-8|
Position before match : 2nd
Position after match : 3rd
Position after the weekend : 3rd
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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