Albion New Signings Make Good Girst Impression

A 2-2 home draw with Sunderland would not normally yield such positivity amongst West Bromwich Albion fans, but with most Baggies predicting a defeat before the game, to come within five minutes of taking all three points is a just cause for celebration.

Albion New Signings Make Good Girst Impression

Posted by

Andy

August 26th, 2014

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A 2-2 home draw with Sunderland would not normally yield such positivity amongst West Bromwich Albion fans, but with most Baggies predicting a defeat before the game, to come within five minutes of taking all three points is a just cause for celebration.

Despite defending like a poor pub side from set pieces, there were many positives to take from the opening day. Albion played with purpose and confidence and bossed the game in a way I haven’t seen them do since the early Steve Clarke days.

Victor Anichebe and Saido Berahino had arguably their best games in an Albion shirt and Youssouf Mulumbu looked back to his destructive best in midfield but the biggest positive for most Baggies’ fans was the performance of the new signings. Andre Wisdom, Sebastien Pocognoli and Craig Gardner all started for Albion and all gave very assured performances.

Andre Wisdom, a loan signing from Liverpool, looks to have plenty of pace and seems calm and confident in possession. There is a question mark over his positional sense defensively but this will only improve as he gains more experience. He will need to progress this area of his game if he is to keep his place in the side as not all left wingers will give him such an easy ride as Adam Johnson did, barely threatening all game.

Sebastien Pocognoli is coming to the Premiership as a virtual unknown but the Belgian settled in to the back four immediately and after suffering a season of catastrophic Liam Ridgewell performances last year, it looks as though we may have landed a real quality left back. He looks as though he enjoys venturing forward, delivering a couple of great crosses from the left after getting into good positions.

My favourite of his attributes must be his tackling though. Although caught out of position on a couple of occasions, Pocognoli more than made up for it with several perfectly timed challenges. He looks like he enjoys a hefty tackle and reminded me of previous left back, Paul Robinson, albeit a lot more cultured.

I have saved the best until last. Craig Gardner was outstanding in midfield alongside Mulumbu. Gardner seems to be very good at several things without being brilliant at any of them. When he is on top of his game then he is very economical in possession and not just pushing the ball five yards left or right but positively starting moves and looking to play the ball forward. He is also positionally aware and isn’t afraid to stick his foot in, breaking up Sunderland’s play on several occasions.

Add to this his thunderbolt of a shot and I think we have snapped up a real asset, especially as he arrived on a free transfer. He looked as though he was enjoying his football and a delightful assist for Berahino’s 2nd. All in all it was a positive display from the Baggies and if Christian Gamboa, Joleon Lescott, Jason Davidson, Brown Ideye and possibly a couple more new arrivals can make the same impact when they get into the Baggies side, then it could be a much more positive season than many had initially anticipated.

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