Premier League Preview: West Bromwich Albion

My Premier League previews continue with yo-yo club West Brom now the team to focus on. After last season’s impressive promotion campaign, will West Brom stick with their policy of playing attractive football, sacrificing the winning of matches?

Some good transfers and an already good squad might not be enough for West Brom this season. Their main rivals staying clear of relegation this season are going to be Newcastle and Bolton, who look to have stronger squads. Albion, though, certainly have some quality.
Former Leeds and Liverpool, and at one time England, goalkeeper remained with West Brom when they were relegated to the Championship after signing for the Baggies in 2008. West Brom have got a decent set of goalkeepers with vastly experienced Dean Kiely and new recruit Boaz Myhill ready to battle it out for the number two spot. The defence in front of them, however, is not so impressive. Gianni Zuiverloon and Marek Cech may be promising names in their own countries, Holland and Slovakia respectively, but they are yet to show any signs of being ready for the pace of the Premier League. Nicky Shorey has recently signed from Aston Villa and the left-back gives the side some much needed Premier League experience. Abdoulaye Meite may have been a strong centre-back in the Premier League for Bolton but the Ivory Coast international looks less than stable in defence. West Brom look very weak at the back.
One to look out for next season is Joe Mattock. The former Leicester left-back played twenty-seven times for Albion last season and can look forward to a decent run in the team this time round. Mattock, though, could find it difficult in the Premier League, especially in a defence that is already very vulnerable.
The midfield of the team isn’t exactly solid either. Chris Brunt is a fine winger and his creativity will be important to the Baggies this season, as will the eagerness and determination of Giles Barnes. The former Derby midfielder joined West Brom in January this year but only managed to play eight times in the Championship. Graham Dorrans has been the subject of transfer speculation during the summer but now looks to be ready to slog out the season with Robert Di Matteo’s team. The fact that West Brom have an inexperienced manager could also count against them; the forty-year-old gained his only managerial experience at MK Dons prior to signing for West Brom in 2009. James Morrison is another creative player but that creativity could all go to waste due to the lack of prominent strikers at West Brom.
Roman Bednar, Luke Moore and Ishmael Miller are the only notable strikers on Di Matteo’s squad. Between them they have scored 101 goals in 420 club appearances. This is simply not good enough and the club really need to find a striker that can score them goals. West Brom desperately need to divulge in the transfer market if they are to get anywhere near to staying up this season.
Where will they finish?: 17th
Official relegation odds: 5/6 (Bet365)
Star man: Chris Brunt
One to watch: Joe Mattock
Main weakness: The sheer lack of Premier League quality and severe lack of decent strikers means that West Brom are going to seriously struggle this season.
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