Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Nacer Chadli is what West Brom needed this summer

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 24 Sep 2016

Belgian international playmaker Nacer Chadli has made a bright start at West Brom

Belgian international playmaker Nacer Chadli has made a bright start at West Brom

For much of Tony Pulis’ managerial career, the Welshman has put function before entertainment. His teams have been solid at the back and scored just enough goals to get them through.

Pulis has tried to dispute this, but last season the Baggies had the sixth best defensive record in the top-flight.

However, on the flip-side Pulis side only scored 34 goals. Only bottom of the table Aston Villa scored fewer goals in the top-flight.

It was obvious that the Baggies needed to add some sparkle to their sawdust this summer. They may just have done that with the signing of Belgian playmaker Nacer Chadli from Spurs for a fee of around £13million.

Why did it fail to work out at Spurs?

Nacer Chadli arrived at Tottenham on the back of the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in a world-record deal. Chadli was considered a promising signing when he joined Spurs and displayed flashes of his ability with the north London side.

However, for some reason, the attacking midfielder could never really nail down a regular starting spot in the team. Chadli’s biggest problem was the fact that a number of different bosses brought in a number of different attacking midfielders.

He always seemed to be the most underrated of those attacking midfielders, because he did not have the reputation of Christian Eriksen or the price-tag of Erik Lamela. To be fair I am not sure why the Belgian international was not afforded more game time in north London.

It is even more puzzling considering that he produced 11 goals and six assists in the 2014/15 season for Tottenham. He had fewer opportunities last season, scoring three times and producing two assists from ten starts for Tottenham.

He could thrive as a regular starter for West Brom

One of Chadli’s main problems at Spurs may have been inconsistent, but that comes with not playing week-in-week-out. If he plays every week I have no doubt that the 27-year-old will thrive for the Baggies.

Last weekend he produced a fantastic display in the Baggies 4-2 win over West Ham, scoring twice and also producing two assists. It was only Chadli’s second appearance for the Baggies, but already he looks like he could be the sort of creative player the Midlands side have been crying out for under Tony Pulis.

The Moroccan-born star started in the number ten role against West Ham and it seemed to bring the best out of him. He had played in all the attacking midfield positions at Tottenham. It may do Chadli good to have a settled position.

The Belgium international has the talent and seemingly temperament to be a star at a club like West Brom, who seem to have been starved of entertainment and quality attacking midfielders in recent years.

Another chance to impress this weekend

Nacer Chadli picked up a slight knock in the West Ham win. However, he is expected to be fit for the Baggies trip to the bottom of the table side Stoke later today, which the visitors are underdogs at odds of 12/5 to win.

Baggies boss Tony Pulis seemed almost certain to leave the Midlands club early this month. According to the Welshman, the Baggies had not signed the players that he wanted to sign and it seems he was at odds with the club’s hierarchy.

However, a few good victories and everything could be good with the West Brom world again. The fans had previously criticised Pulis playing style, but the signing of Chadli may just change that slightly.

Pulis will celebrate 1,000 games as a football manager against his old club Stoke. He will be hoping that Chadli recovers from that slight knock sustained last time out.

If employed right, Chadli has the potential to be a very good Premier League player. The Belgian star appears to be just what the Baggies needed for this season. He is an exciting and talented player that can complement his workmanlike teammates.

Chadli may have only played twice for the Baggies, but already he has shown what he can do. He is more likely to fulfil his potential playing every week at the Hawthorns, than occasionally at White Hart Lane.

Will Nacer Chadli help make West Brom play more entertaining football?


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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