West Bromwich Albion in 2016/17: Strength, weakness and where they can finish

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West Bromwich are not a much discussed Premier League side despite being a regular mid-table finisher and causing upsets. The reason behind might be the presence of their manager Tony Pulis who is known for his monotonous style of football aka ‘Pulisball’ – unexciting yet effective.

Since the completion of gameweek 5, the Baggies have begun their Premier League campaign with two wins, two defeats and one draw. As it seems, Pulis, who has never faced a relegation in his coaching career, is heading for another mid-table finish. They went through a shocking league defeat against struggling Bournemouth and League One opponent Northampton Town (in EFL Cup second round tie), but thrashed mighty West Ham United by a margin of 4-2, quite unfamiliar scoreline considering their usual outcomes.

Transfers Ins and Outs:

Major Ins: 

Nacer Chadli – Tottenham, £13m
Matt Phillips – QPR, £5.5m
Allan Nyom – Watford, £4m
Brendan Galloway – Everton, loan
Hal Robson-Kanu – Reading, free

Major Outs:

Stephane Sessegnon, released
Victor Anichebe, released
Anders Lindegaard – Preston, free
James Chester – Aston Villa, £7m
Cristian Gamboa – Celtic, undisclosed
Sebastien Pocognoli – Brighton, loan
Rickie Lambert – Cardiff City, undisclosed

Strength: 

The former Stoke City boss is known for playing ultra-defensive with big centre-backs, long-ball tactics and physical football. He has successfully injected those attributes with the likes of Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, James McClean, James Morrison and Craig Dawson. However, he has brought in Premier League veterans like Jonny Evans and Darren Fletcher from Manchester United along with big number 9 Salomon Rondon from Russian outfit Zenit St. Petersburg.

Youngsters like Jonathan Leko and Saido berahino are well capable of causing threats while counter-attacking display and a few new signings in terms of Matt Phillips, Allan Nyom, Brendan Galloway and Wales Euro 2016 superstar Hal Robson-Kanu have increased their squad depth as well as first team options. But the best possible deal they have struck is Nacer Chadli from Tottenham Hotspur as the Belgian winger has made an immediate impact scoring and assisting twice against the Hammers on his home debut.

Weakness: 

Despite being a Premier League regular, West Bromwich have never been able to deliver something extra to fight for a European spot or at least a top half finish. In most cases, they have finished mid-table and never looked promising enough to add more excitement in Premier League.

Although they have done plenty of business, but the lack of variation and versatility have made them predictable and the ‘Pulisball’ has tagged them tedious. Fans usually do not enjoy such kind of football as they prefer the likes of Bournemouth and Burnley more for their courageous display and lionhearted spirit. Nevertheless, result matters the most and despite being inconsistent, Pulis has always managed to stay up in Premier League unlike Newcastle United, Aston Villa and many more who were once considered the top sides of English football.

West Bromwich – Where they can finish: 

It is not a tough task to predict their Premier League destiny. The Baggies will surely not be relegated but also unlikely to finish in top half of the league table. Another mid-table finish in on the cards and Pulis will be looking forward to make the Hawthorns a fortress as he did with Britannia Stadium during his tenure as Stoke City manager.

 

What do you think of the West Bromwich side? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Photo by Rorals

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