Progress report for West Brom’s first four Premier League games

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Best starting XI

For the starting XI the goalkeeper has to be Boaz Myhill out of pure necessity with Ben Foster unavailable. The Baggies have enlisted the help of Anders Lindegaard, but nobody really knows how good he actually is. For Manchester United to let him leave on a free would suggest not very, but time will tell. However, if all three are fit Foster gets the nod between the sticks.

The back four would consist of three centre-backs of the 72 Albion now have on their books! At right-back it would be Craig Dawson, not exceptional going forward but solid enough and has just enough pace to get up and down the pitch.

The CB spots are a difficult choice to make. Jonas Olsson is not preferred anymore, although he has been a good servant to the club his talents would now be more appreciated in the Championship = he is almost laughable with the ball at his feet. It’s a tough decision between Gareth McAuley and new boy from Hull City, James Chester. McAuley just edges it for now. This is the last year that he will be able to play effectively at the highest level and Pulis may have signed Chester with that in mind. To partner him Jonny Evans, although yet to wear the shirt his vast experience and relationship with McAuley at international level will see him ease into the setup without much disruption.

Chris Brunt gets the left-back spot. His very limited pace has all but disappeared, so having him in midfield is carrying a player, he can graft but pace is important at the top. People will talk about his ‘magical’ left foot, he can use it at left-back and it isn’t that magical. He doesn’t do badly in the air and he can still pass a ball. The link with Evans on the international stage only increases the case for him to hold the position. It should, however be noted that forgotten man Sebastien ocognoli is still at the club and there are fans questioning what in the world he has done wrong?

If it were my best XI it would be a four man midfield, although I know Pulis favors five. For the four I would have James McClean and Steve McManaman on the wings. Give them freedom to run at players, which is where their effectiveness lies. Both have started the season lively and if their quality and delivery improves they could be real danger men in the Pulis system.

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