A season to remember for all the right reasons
They’re in the relegation zone, have scored one goal from open play and are being managed by an unproven head coach at this level. Not the most encouraging signs for West Brom, a club that narrowly avoided the drop the previous campaign.
September 8th, 2014
But, in a rare show of optimism from myself, I believe that there aren’t too many reasons for the Albion faithful to lose the bounce in their boings.
Eleven fresh faces were bought into Birmingham, bringing with them a new found optimism and a fresh feel to a squad that was starting to turn stale.
Five of the new members of the team have started a game in the league so far and another two have made appearances from the bench, leaving a quartet of players still to don the blue and white pinstripes for the first time.
And what a quartet it is. 131 international caps, international honours and a reel of domestic achievements, they give me real reason to be optimistic.
The signing of Joleon Lescott took us by surprise. We all know what he can do and if he brings with him the form which saw him win the Premier League with Man City then our defence will soon resemble one as miserly as the Roy Hodgson days.
Georgios Samaras, winner of the 2004 Euros, has a whole reel of honours at Celtic. He can play on the wings and also up front. His adaptability will certainly prove important through what will inevitably be an enduring season.
Sebastian Blanco is a complete unknown to me, but after a quick look on YouTube and scour on a website that rhymes with ‘Rikipedia,’ he looks like a talent and could have the invention that we sorely missed last season to unlock defences at this level.
Silvestre Varela from Porto is one of the signings during the window that really got me excited. He’s played 115 times for the Portuguese giants, scoring 30 times. He will bring with him pace, skill and flair, something that Albion have sorely missed recently.
The only things that make me wary to be too positive about this season is the question that you could ask of at least 10 teams in the league. Where are the goals going to come from? Brown Ideye is under great pressure to grab the goals to propel his side to safety. Jeremy Peace spent a record £10 million on the Nigerian striker and he will certainly expect a return on his investment.
Samaras failed to reach double figures last season, and that was against lesser opposition than he’ll face in England. Saido Berahino rarely plays centrally so will be hard pushed to get into double figures, and Victor Anichebe will be lucky to play 10 games this season – let alone score 10 goals – with his injury woes.
Irvine quickly needs to learn how to win a game of football in this league, he came into the role under pressure and if his wait for victory goes much longer then he will soon become another managerial casualty.
But, overall I am excited for the coming season, the players seem happier than this time last season and if they can all gel quickly, it could be a season to remember for all the right reasons.