Season Preview West Brom 2016-17

Call it boring! Call it stale! It doesn’t matter what superlative you would use to describe Tony Pulis’ in game tactics. If there is only thing that Pulis does better than anyone else it is to keep a team in the Premier League. Despite failing to win a single game since the 1st week of March the Baggies finished last season in 14th place. While people will be pointing to the fact that West Brom were only second to Aston Villa in scoring the least amount of goals. The same people should look into the fact that the club conceded the least among the teams that finished outside the Top 6.

Tony Pulis despite his good work is under pressure heading into the new season. West Brom are under a new regime with a Chinese business group headed by Guochan Lai buying majority shares of the club in August. The new owners have been quick to make changes, they’ve replaced Jeremy Peace as club chairman with former Blackburn Rovers chairman John Williams.

The goal for Baggies to improve upon their 14th place finish from last season. More than their final league standing it will be the performances that’ll determine how long Pulis will be with the club.

West Brom 2016-17 Season Preview

Manager of West Brom - Tony Pulis

Tony Pulis (Pic Cou: Skysports.com)

Not many will argue about Pulis’ credentials when it comes to keeping teams in the Premier League. The 58 year old Welsh manager however has never been someone who could take his club to the next level. More than the results it is Pulis’ long ball game that has the supporters split on opinion about him. The Baggies managed to score only 34 goals last season and 35% of those goals were from set pieces.

7 games involving West Brom saw neither team managing to make a single shot on target. West Brom’s transfer activity doesn’t suggest that they’ll be making any major in-roads in terms of scoring this season. Baggies have brought in 6 new players to their squad this summer which includes Hal Robson Kanu, Nacer Chadli and Matt Philips.

Insight

Nacer Chadli is an interesting addition [1]. The 27 year old Belgian was offloaded by Pochettino due to his inability to adapt to different positions on the pitch. Chadli among with Matt Philips will give West Brom an added edge in the wings however the question remains – who will convert the crosses into the box?

Saido Berahino is stuck for atleast another 4 months with Baggies. Having tried to force a move away from the club last summer, the 23 year old struggled for most parts of the season. He did get his act together towards the end but he will need to prove to his potential suitors that he can deliver on a consistent basis.

With the relatively week squad at hand it’s difficult to see Pulis pulling off any kind of miracle. The squad does need strengthening in each and every area on the pitch but it remains to be seen whether the club will allot him with the funds or time to make the changes.

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Squad Breakdown

Ben Foster has made a strong comeback from his injury troubles that had kept him out of action for nearly a year. The 33 year old will hoping to stay free from injuries and put in good performances to earn his way back to the England squad. Boaz Myhill will start the campaign as an understudy to Foster.

West Brom do have pretty solid back four in Craig Dawson, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson and Jonny Evans. It has to be seen how Pulis’ deadline day signings Allan Nyom and Brendan Galloway will feature for the club. Claudio Yacob and Captain Darren Fletcher will provide cover to the back four while the duo of Matt Philips and Nacer Chadli should provide the attacking threat from the wings.

The arrivals of Chadli and Philips will challenge Craig Gardner and James McClean both of whom were critical to Baggies’ campaign last season. It will interesting to see how the other fringe players including Chris Brunt and Callum McManaman will feature under Pulis this season.

Hal Robson Kanu who stared in Wales’s European Championship campaign will challenge Salomon Rondon and Sadio Berahino for the strikers role. Rondon with his 9 goals last campaign finished as the clubs’ top scorer while Berahino finished with a paltry return of 7.

West Brom 2016-17 Season Prediction

The Baggies have gotten off to a steady start to the season. After winning their opening game of against Palace they followed it up 2-1 defeat against Everton and a 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough. The club does have a relatively easy run of fixtures coming up after the international break and should be able to build on their decent start. A good run of results will also help ease the pressure on Pulis.

Unlike most bookies and experts we are backing West Brom to surprise everyone this season. They certainly won’t be challenging for the top 4 or even the top 6 but by the end of the campaign they should sneak into the top half of the table.

Verdict: – 10th Place

Player to Watch – West Brom 2016-17

West Brom Key Player - Jonny Evans

Jonny Evans (Pic Cou: birminghammail.co.uk)

Jonny Evans

It came as a surprise when Jonny Evans was allowed to leave by Manchester United. The 28 year old made his debut for United at the age of 19 and would become a first team regular at the age of 20. The Northern Irish international would go onto make nearly 200 appearances for the club but never really cemented his place at the club partially due to a series recurring injuries.

Jonny Evans has had a career resurgence with Baggies. He was the club’s player of the season last campaign and was rumored to be a potential target for Arsenal this summer. Evans is definitely a player you should keep an eye on and pick in your fantasy football squad.

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Betting Tips – West Brom 2016-17

1. Premier League Champions – 1501.00 (Bet 365)

Nope!

2. Relegation – 4.50 (Ladbrokes)

What makes West Brom a contender for relegation? Weak Squad, Lack of goals, Lack of creativity.

How will West Brom avoid relegation? Tony Pulis.

3. Top 10 – 7.00 (Bet 365)

It won’t be pretty by any means. If Tony Pulis remains in charge for the entire campaign West Brom will get the results. The teams in mid-table won’t be separated by a huge points gap and we can West Brom just sneaking into the top 10.

A risky bet but one we’ll be making this season.

4. Stay Up – 1.29 (Bet 365)

Safe Bet! Poor Odds!

5. Fewest Goals Scored – 4.50 (Betvictor)

The sure fire bet for Baggies! Great Odds! Definite Winner!

6. First Manager to Leave Post – 2.75 (Betfair)

A new regime usually brings with it a plethora of changes[2]. Despite the new owners being vocal on supporting Pulis one has to wonder when they’ll pull the trigger. The club will put on a good run after the international break and that should help Pulis remain in charge atleast till the end of the season

All Odds courtesy of Oddschecker [3]

Transfers In – West Brom 2016-17

Transfers In

Sl No Position Player Fee – From
1 STR Hal Robson Kanu Free Reading
2 MF Matt Phillips 6.5 million QPR
3 MF Nacer Chadli 15.2 million Tottenham
4 DF Brendan Galloway Loan Everton
5 DF Allan Nyom _ Watford

West Brom – 2015/16 Stats

Pos Team Played Won Lost Draw GD Points
14 West Brom 38 10 15 13 -14 43

Other Season Prediction and Betting Tips

Watford 2016-17 Season Prediction and Betting Tips

External Resources

[1] BBC.com, West Brom Sign Nacer Chadli

[2] Skysports.com, The Chinese have arrived at Hawthrons

[3] Oddschecker.com, Oddschecker Home Page