Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Can West Brom get into Europe in the near future?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 26 Sep 2015

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West Brom centre-back Jonny Evans believes that the Baggies can qualify for Europe in the next two seasons

West Brom centre-back Jonny Evans believes that the Baggies can qualify for Europe in the next two seasons

Former-Manchester United and current West Brom centre-back Jonny Evans believes that the Baggies can qualify for Europe in the next few seasons. Nothing wrong with a bit of ambition for his club I suppose.

Progression

Evans spoke of his ambitions, telling Soccer Saturday: “When the manager came in, I think West Brom were around the relegation zone,”

“I think having survived that, you want to push on and get into the top 10, maybe even if things go well this year reaching Europe – or maybe that can come next year.”

Struggled

Last season the Baggies were struggling just above the drop zone prior to Tony Pulis’ arrival, but eventually finished 13th in the Premier League table. In typical Pulis fashion he came into the club and steadied the ship.

Solid

The Baggies picked-up just one point from their first three Premier League games this season, but they did face Chelsea and Manchester City in that period. The Baggies results have improved immensely in the last three games, picking-up two wins and a draw.

That improvement has been based on a solid defence, having kept three consecutive clean sheets, and four clean sheets in their six Premier League games this season. Evans has played a part in that defensive solidarity, starting the last two games for the Baggies.

Tony Pulis has always been famous for his sides being well organised and strong at the back. His team’s good foundations have been built on keeping clean sheets.

Goals

West Brom may be solid at the back, but they struggle to score goals. Both their latest victories have been 1-0 wins, with controversial striker Saido Berahino scoring the winner last time out at Aston Villa.

The Baggies were not prolific last season, and that is probably why the former-Stoke boss brought in strikers Salomon Rondon and Rickie Lambert this summer. Neither player looks to have settled in at the club just yet.

Rondon arrived with a big reputation and for a club-record fee, but has scored just once in his five appearances for the Baggies. The Venezuelan international looks like he could score goals in the Premier League if he gets the right service.

Lambert has not had much time on the pitch to impress. It seems with the arrival of Rondon and the re-introduction of Berahino into the team, the former-England man could struggle for game time this season.

Berahino did score goals last season, finding the net 14 times in the Premier League, but his team as a whole was not free-scoring.

Expectations

With Tony Pulis at the helm from the start of the campaign West Brom were never going to be candidates for relegation. The Baggies boss produces teams that are far too well organised for that sort of scenario.

It is difficult to judge West Brom’s expectations for the campaign. It looks unlikely that the Baggies will trouble the top six this season, so it seems they are destined to finish in midtable.

Maybe Evans was not completely unrealistic talking about a top ten finish this season. The competition in the middle of the table with be fierce this season, as clubs either attempt to push to the top six, or avoid getting dragged into that dreaded relegation dogfight.

Steady

With Tony Pulis in charge gone are the days of the Baggies boing between the Premier League and the second tier. They can look forward to being a steady top-flight team for years to come.

Jonny Evans’ claim that West Brom could reach Europe within the next few years may sound ambitious, but who knows the Baggies may just be going on a European tour in the near future.

The Baggies face unpredictable Everton at home on Monday night, and Evans and co. will be looking for another clean sheet and maximum points when the men from Merseyside roll into town.

What should be West Brom’s aims for this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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