Thursday, August 5, 2010

Relegation Fodder (West Brom)

The promoted clubs are always going to be the favorites to go right back down, and West Bromwich Albion has been the definition of a yo-yo team for the last decade. This season will be their fifth in the top flight over the last ten years. Only once did they manage to stay up, and they went back down the next season. The season they stayed up they did so with 34 points, and despite being rock bottom at Christmas.

This club has a likable, yet inexperienced manager in Roberto Di Matteo. I don't have the statistics at my fingertips, but I am fairly certain that promoted clubs led by young managers with no Premier League experience tend to have a rather steep learning curve. This is compounded by the fact that they play at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea and at Anfield against Liverpool in August.

West Brom allowed roughly a goal a game last season in the Championship, while scoring nearly two a game. They are certainly not going to score two goals a game in the top flight. Unfortunately, they might concede close to that. I think they will put up more of a fight than Blackpool, and they might have a chance if other clubs pick up some injuries and struggle, but I can;t see this team getting more than 35 points at the most, and they will probably be closer to 30.

They count on midfielders Chris Brunt and Graham Dorrans to provide the goals, as principal striker Roman Bednar just can't get it done at this level. Brunt is only 25, a Northern Irish international who has always shown a knack for scoring goals, and Di Matteo will rely heavily on him.

Dorrans is only 23, and really provides the Baggies with a creative spark. He had 19 assists last season in addition to his 13 goals. The problem for West Brom is that they need Dorrans to repeat this type of performance in a much better league, but if he does repeat the performance, they will have to sell him in January.

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