After Southampton failed to take yet another opportunity to build momentum last weekend, Maurico Pellegrino will be desperate for all three points and an entertaining showing at St Mary’s tomorrow.
Alongside Pellegrino in the dugout, however, will be Tony Pulis – a man that gets his kicks through clean sheets and dogged defensive performances both home and away. But to find out more about what we can expect from The Baggies tomorrow, I spoke to Alex Newton – a West Brom fan and columnist for The Daily Mail.
How would you summarise your season so far?
It hasn’t been fantastic. From an outside view, you may look at Albion being mid-table and think they’re having a half decent season. The problem is we’ve already played five of the bottom seven sides in the league and have a tough run of fixtures coming up. We’ve thrown three leads away in the final 20 minutes of games already this season which could have seen us be 4th in the table as it stands.
Who do you expect to be your key man this year?
Jonny Evans. After all the transfer talk surrounding him, the skipper decided to stay, and he now has to get his head down and focus on his football. Not only is he a brilliant defender he can organise the entire back line. When Evans plays well we usually get a result.
What would make for a successful season?
Realistically we know top half would be an excellent achievement for the club. With us being in the Premier League for nearly a decade we shouldn’t have to worry about the threat of relegation. It would be great to have a decent run in the FA Cup if we find ourselves mid-table in the league come January.
How have the West Brom fans taken to former Saint, Jay Rodriguez?
Jay’s a model professional which will always go down well at The Hawthorns. He hit the ground running early but has found it difficult in the last few weeks. That being said the fans appreciate his effort upfront and you can see he will always try hard for the team.
How do teams get the most joy out of your defence?
Pace and trickery on the wings always seem to cause us trouble. It’s clear to see that we’re a physical side so the majority of the time we’re good at defending set pieces. If you can stretch our defense out of position with pace, you’ll usually find success.
You’re stranded on a desert island and can only be joined by one Baggies player; who’s it going to be?
Great question! Despite the language barrier, I’d pick Claudio Yacob. He’s always in the background of player’s photos smiling or causing mischief. I reckon he’d make the time go quickly.
Which Southampton player would you take to join your side?
I’ve always liked Nathan Redmond. He’s quick direct, and I think he’d flourish in a team like West Brom on the opposite wing to Matt Phillips.
As an outsider looking in, which Baggies player would help to improve Pellegrino’s Saints most?
This is a tricky question as you struggle to score goals like ourselves, but you also let in a fair few easy ones. Nacer Chadli playing in the ten behind your striker(s) could open a lot of opportunities for you I reckon. Failing that I’ve seen a lot of your fans moan about your goalkeeper so maybe Ben Foster too.
And finally, what do you think the score will be this Saturday?
1-1. Rodriguez and Gabiadini the scorers.