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Soccer - Barclays Premier League - West Bromwich Albion v Burnley - The Hawthorns

Best XI

Best XI is a tricky one, not because it’s a struggle to separate the close qualities in our side, more the opposite. Not a tough decision between our ball winning defensive midfielder or our creative spark. No, it is hard to decide our best 11 based on the complete drivel that Albion fans are enduring week in, week out. At his disposal clock-watching Alan Irvine has a squad that previous Albion managers could have only dreamt about. Chairman Jeremy Peace has delivered him a team that, if managed correctly, could be a force. A side boasting millions of pounds spent on imports to give him a fighting chance of breaking into the top 12 and taking the club forwards.

Instead of that, Irvine has persisted with the players that were already at the club and have proven they can’t take us to the next level. Chris Brunt, Graham Dorrans and James Morrison inexplicably occupy the midfield and it shows no signs of changing, despite the poor performances and results.

In goal Ben Foster picks himself. Right-back is somewhat harder because Andre Wisdom is the obvious choice for Irvine, unfortunately I’m still not seeing it. One good assist for a goal against United is about as far as his positives go. The club have Costa Rican World Cup star Christian Gamboa on the books, he’s a West Brom player, why are we trying to develop Wisdom when he’s not even ours? Gamboa has blistering pace and would offer another option going forwards.

Craig Dawson and Joleon Lescott make the central partnership. Lescott has shown his class since being bought in and Dawson is finally starting to get some consistent game time that he has lacked at the club. Hopefully they can continue to build a relationship that might save the club from a relegation scrap.

Sebastien Pocognoli slots in at left-back, and despite his suspect defending against Palace I like my wing-backs to get forwards and he does that. His final delivery lacks in quality at times but the Belgian is still fairly new to the English game. Hopefully with Lescott next-door, and time, Pocognoli will bring consistency to the West Brom left side. Jason Davidson can’t get a look in, another player bought in based on a good World Cup.

The only man I would guarantee a spot in a best XI is Sessegnon, he is the type of player that can change a game in seconds and our only midfielder that possesses real pace and attacking intent. Other than that Craig Gardner probably has the edge over Morrison, Brunt and Dorrans, who all severely lack pace. Due to Gardner’s combative nature, the way he strikes a ball and his all round game he just gets the nod. I want to know why Irvine is playing the aforementioned trio every game? 4-0 against Burnley bagged Dorrans a spot in the European best XI and a 10 out of 10 rating. Once again it needs to be put in perspective, this is Burnley, at The Hawthorns, they were injury riddle and without Sam Vokes and Danny Ings, who are they only reason Burnley got promoted to the top division. To even survive a club needs to be beating the teams around them. Dorrans, Morrison and Brunt are okay against those teams. Against the bigger boys they just don’t cut it. They were non-existent at Anfield and did alright against Manchester United in a credible 2-2 draw. Did an average job against Palace at home, and were sub-par in a terrible spectacle against Leicester City and were again invisible against Newcastle. The midfield is the hub of any team, the area that needs to provide the basis for every attacking move, the line of defence protecting its back four. All three lack Premier League quality and would be more suited to the Championship.

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