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Why No Praise For West Bromwich Albion

 Why No Praise For West Bromwich Albion

One of the things that has surprised me this season is the lack of praise being thrown towards Roberto Di Matteo and his very impressive West Bromwich Albion side. Of the three promoted sides, Blackpool have the best manager for soundbites, Newcastle have some off the field issues and strange living arrangments for some of the squad. West Bromwich have simply decided to play some impressive football in the first 3 months of the season.

It’s odd that a side that currently sit 6th in the table, with some fantastic results so far are not garnering more positive press. Yes, they started badly with a thrashing at Chelsea, but it’s hardly an exclusive club to be in, though a loss at lacklustre Liverpool perhaps was more of a disappointment. Other than that though, this is a side that outplayed Arsenal for an hour at the Emirates and won 3-2, held Tottenham at home and Manchester United away.

It seems that the Baggies can’t get the credit that they clearly deserve at this part of the season. West Brom have evolved from a middling Championship side in the 1990′s, to a club consistently pushing for promotion to the Premiership in the last 10 years. Through Megson, Robson and Mowbray this was a side that proved too good for the Championship but failed to utilise their top league credentials. Now though, Di Matteo has set his stall out with his side to try and build on Premiership football.

It seems to me rather odd that a side with the credentials and history of West Brom has struggled to make more of a Premiership impact over the last ten years. Sides that have spent less, with smaller crowds have stayed up whilst the Baggies continued to yo-yo between the top two divisions. Yet, they’ve not fallen in to the trap of getting stuck in the Championship and always been up around the movers and shakers of the promotion race consistently.

This season has seen a breakthrough for them as a Premiership side. No longer afraid to play away from home, with pace and slick passing, this West Bromwich side has the potential to be the best one in 30 years. Di Matteo has added some sublime skill to a good footballing side with some astute signings. Whilst Peter Odemwingie gets all the glory, I have to say two players that have really impressed me so far are Chris Brunt and Nicky Shorey.

Brunt is one of those criminally underrated players who simply doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves. A lovely footballer with a sweet eye for a killer pass or cross, Brunt has impressed me for several seasons. He is thriving in this West Bromwich team and it is richly deserved. He has consistently impressed me since he burst on to the scene with Sheffield Wednesday in 2004 and he has continued to improve year on year.

He is the Throstles key man for me, he makes the side tick and Di Matteo has rightly got him playing the best football of his career so far. Shorey on the other hand has had a torrid couple of years. He was touted for a bright future whilst at Reading, but lost his way after his move to Aston Villa turned sour. You know you’ve fallen out of favour when a right back is being played at left back instead of you. Sometimes it happens to a good player, some moves just don’t work out, David Bentley at Tottenham is a case in point.

Shorey though has begun to return to form, after a spell on loan at Nottingham Forest seemed to bring his confidence back and now he too is performing exceptionally well for W.B.A. and the side is really benefiting from it. This for me is the teams breakthrough season and about time too in my opinion, the Hawthorns is one of my favourite away grounds and the club is progressive and positive. I hope they can keep building on this excellent start to the season.

16 Responses to Why No Praise For West Bromwich Albion

  1. Nnanna says:

    In Odemwingie, West Brom landed a Rolls Royce for the price of a Hyundai. Followers of Nigerian football know that he is by far the best player on a squad that includes Yakubu, Martins and Mikel

  2. fivestardive says:

    I have been a fan of Manchester United for about 20 years now, and I have adopted WBA as my “other” EPL team to follow (helps that we have a family member on the team) but I’ve been really impressed With Di Matteo and his squad….and been saying as much on FB etc.

  3. jason says:

    I agree with how well they are doing. For sure they won’t go down this year. I feel Blackpool will still go down along with WHU and somebody else. We are still just 8 games into the season we are not at that point where the “table does not lie” yet. In fact if I recall the relgation battle never really shakes out until March. But WBA won’t be there.

  4. Carolyn says:

    I have also been surprised that there hasn’t been more praise given to WBA and the terrific job DiMatteo has done. I know we’ve seen this type of start before by a newly promoted team but not one that has played such wonderful soccer in the process. I hope they continue to play this way and stay in the top half of the table. That would be quite an achievement.

  5. Fernando says:

    As a Chelsea supporter, I’m very much supportive of Roberto and the job he’s doing. Provided their future slump in form (it will happen, always does) doesn’t last too long a la Hull, they should comfortably avoid the drop. I think if they can replicate the form Birmingham City had last year everyone at the club would take that.

    Continued success there means Roberto is going to be a popular choice amongst clubs with openings. Here’s hoping he sticks around with West Brom and solidifies their place in Premier League.

  6. Clampdown says:

    While I haven’t seen a lot of articles written about West Brom, I’ve actually heard quite a bit of praise on TV and also among conversations in the pubs where I watch football. They are impressive, and I appreciate that they come to play rather than sit back.

    I do not agree, however, on Shorey. I think he is a pretty poor defender. I’ve seen WBA play a few times this season, and not once did I think he looked good.

    For me, the combination of Brunt and Morrison, who also is underrated, is worth watching.

    • Blue and white 4 ever says:

      What !!!!
      I can’t believe what i am reading,Shorey is an absolute breath of fresh air,who gives his all for the team and defends really well,absolute prem quality.His tackles are well timed and has kept us in the match many a time.Compare Shorey and merek cech to what we had before (paul robinson-Bolton,who constantly screwed up) and you will see there is a vast difference,we now have a great defence,great midfield,and a fair strike force.The team play for each other and give there all,if we go 1,2 down,they just play harder with a”never say die “attitude and win/draw the match.The difference with this team now compared to WBA teams before is our second string players are as good as our first.This is by far the best team for 32 years,and its an exciting time to be a Baggie.Long may it continue.Boing Boing,up the Baggies.

  7. gary says:

    I really appreciate the post, thank god we are getting praise somewhere. IMO a certain program that shows the EPl highlights doesn’t have a clue and never watch the games and its usually how bad the other team has played, ie arsenal and man utd.

    I am a West Brom fan and i am delighted with what you have written and it is pretty spot on.

    As for Clampdown, what on earth have you been watching? Nicky Shorey has been solid, composed and shown great experience since he has joined. You must be a Wolves fan in disguise.

    • Blue and white 4 ever says:

      Clampdown – got to be a wolf.
      Their forum pages are a little bare at the moment,
      Stop it- shouldn’t be nasty.lol. Roll on Dec 19th.

  8. Pakapala says:

    Funny you say that; maybe we don’t read or listen to the same media, but I’ve heard nothing but praises being lauded about WBA. Certainly at least in the last few weeks (month of October).

  9. JimDavis says:

    The last 8 games are to culmination of 15 of dross and 10 years of trying to do things a little different to the rest of the footballing world. Just a thought, but maybe you could do a little research into the clubs structure and base your next article on how it’s not a club set up in the English way.

  10. what a drama says:

    Respect to WBA for their start to the season but it wont last ..hence the lack of interest .Every year an underdog has a great start but then slowly fades back into the bottom half ,if this story is still going in march then fair enough but its early days.

  11. I agree there is a significant lack of praise for West Brom from the media but i think most fans are praising their league position and performances, especially since their match at the Emirates that made the league sit up and take note

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