Terry Wills on Albion’s start to the season.
Just two games played but the natives are already feeling restless.
Following the Manchester City defeat I know that a majority of baggies fans felt that Watford was the perfect opportunity to put in a positive performance, grab a goal or two and leave us feeling we’re on our way.
As said last week it was always going to be difficult. A promoted team playing their opening home game, a full house, thousands of flag-waving fans screaming their heads off for 90 plus minutes – all aided by playersout to prove that they could compete with the best that the.Premier League could offer. Need more be said?
Tony Pulis’ team selection team raised a few eyebrows, the main being Jolean Lescott warming the substitutes bench together with new boys James Chester and James McClean. Clearly he was feeling that a return of the old guard Jonas Olsson ans Gareth McCauley would stiffen a defence destroyed by the Sky Blues of Manchester.
It worked despite the Hornets enjoying the majority of possession and looking far more likely to score than a toothless Albion. But in saying that if Saido Berahino – Albion’s only danger man – hadn’t missed the best chance in the game late on those Watford supporters really would have been cursing their luck, or lack of it.
What did stand out and has for some time was a so obvious lack of pace. This really is a weakness so if and when Tony Pulis recruits the players he feels we need then it will be a major disappointment if they lack this vital asset.
How about our record signing Solomon Rondron? A giant of a man who in his short spell did inject a sense of purpose and pace. When fully fit and attuned to the demands of the English game he will surely trouble the tightest of defences, whether it be partnering Rickie Lambert or, if he doesn’t move on, Saido Berahino.
Another weakness is the lack of genuine midfield quality. Players that after winning the ball can provide defence splitting passes – and there are not many of this ilk in the present squad.
On to this week’s Greed League fixture. Current champions Chelsea , who are licking their wounds amidst damning criticism from the national media. That crushing 3-0 defeat at the Etihad against the rampaging City ensures that the Special One will be more than anxious to see things put things right in front of another Super Sunday television audience.
Prospects? The Baggies will naturally be hopeful of scoring their first goals of the season and possibly winning the game. While that would certainly be a tremendous fillip the fact remains that with the quality of world class players in their squad Chelsea have to be considered favourites to win what should be an intriguing encounter.
Can Albion possibly repeat last season’s win? Reluctantly I feel that we won’t but then as every supporters knows you can never rule out an unexpected result from any game.
So a Chelsea win but if Tony Pulis was offered a point before the game I reckon he’d grab it with both hands – as would I.