The fallout from transfer deadline day continues with the original ‘top four’ grabbing all the headlines. However, West Brom could be a surprise package this season following some intelligent acquisitions.
West Brom have recruited heavily in defensive areas and it’s no surprise considering the Baggies just about hung on to Premier League status last season. They conceded 59 goals, losing 16 games and drawing another 15.
They will need to improve on all of these statistics if they are to avoid another rollercoaster relegation battle. Turning these losses and draws into wins will be crucial as 36 points may not be enough to hang onto top flight status this year.
Their standout signing has to be Joleon Lescott. The former Manchester City man wasn’t given much of a chance last term to show the ability he still possesses when called upon. City’s defensive options are immense at the moment so it’s no surprise to see him move onto pastures news. At West Brom there is a chance for Lescott to show that he is still capable of playing at the highest level and he should prove to be a fantastic addition to the Baggies defence.
Chris Baird, Jason Davidson and Cristian Gamboa have all come into help improve the side defensively as well as Sebastien Pocognoli from Hannover 96 and Andre Wisdom on loan from Liverpool. The only worry now for West Brom is that these players must get used to playing with one another and as we’ve seen too many times, a bad start with players that don’t gel can put a team in all sorts of trouble come April and May.
So far this term the players haven’t gelled quite as well as they could have and West Brom have continued their reputation as stalemate specialists, drawing two and losing one of their three Premier League games. However, there are another 35 games to play for and expectations are that West Brom will do much better this season.
Moving to midfield and Craig Gardner comes into the side following a move from Sunderland. Gardner adds pace and power to any midfield he is in and at West Brom he gives them a dimension they missed last season which was a player capable of scoring and assisting from midfield. They have also signed Sebastian Blanco to improve their midfield.
Chris Brunt did have some impact in the 2013/14 campaign but a new direction could be a good option. Although Gardner only made seven Premier League starts for the Black Cats last season, he managed two goals and as many assists in his time there. He has also already produced one assist for his new club.
Up front West Brom needed improving and they have brought in Brown Ideye from Dynamo Kiev as well as Georgios Samaras from Celtic. Ideye comes into the team with the pressure of being West Brom’s all time record signing at £10 million but with his 34 goals for Dynamo Kiev in 74 appearances he has proved at least he has an eye for goal.
Georgios Samaras has been a key feature in Celtic’s successful last couple of years as they qualified and acquitted themselves well in the Champions League. After so many years away from the Premier League in Scotland it will be interesting to see how Samaras performs in England again following the period he had with Manchester City previously.
The season is still just waking up from its summer break but expect West Brom’s new signings to make a significant impact this season and keep them away from relegation danger.
Predicted finish: 15th (45 points)
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena.
Featured image By Tony Hisgett (originally posted to Flickr as Albion 3) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons