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West Brom Story: Slow October-November 09/10

Hello friends, welcome back to my West Bromwich Albion story. You may remember West Brom finishing September on a high. With a catalogue of strikers to choose from, my rotation system seemed to be working. I recorded six wins from six games in the Championship. This left me sitting pretty at the top by 8 points. However a long October and November awaits, with some tough opposition to over come I needed my boys to keep up the great form. Lets see how I got on.

The first game in October saw me play Preston at Deepdale. A mid-table side that I do not feel threatened by, their key player is Ross Wallace. A left winger that can score as well as assist. If I could keep the Scotsman quiet, I would probably keep Preston quiet. My formation was to be a 4-5-1, this should see us dominate midfield against Preston’s 4-4-2.

Simon Cox got us off to a flying start. His effort on the 10th minute gave West Brom the lead. My boys dominated possession after this. A number of chances went a begging but Slory cut inside from the right wing to score early on in the second half. A great performance and the 2-0 result was well deserved.

My next fixture was to be played at the Hawthorns. Reading were my opponents, some great form saw them lying 3rd in the Championship. I took my assistants advice for this match andused a 4-4-2.  With Simon Cox and Lazovic playing well I put them up front. Dorrans was offered the chance to impress me from left midfield, the Scot had fallen short of my expectations so far.

The first half was largely disappointing, Reading had all the possession and shots on goal. Bar a fluffed opportunity from Lazovic my boys were short of ideas. With me worrying about an abrupt end to our form, Reading scored. Thankfully Lazovic replied quickly with 20 minutes to go. Unfortunately it wasn’t West Brom who went for the win, Reading piled the pressure on. The game finished 1-1 and I was more worried about the lack of desire than the result.

All I wanted to do was put that performance behind me. Swansea were next to visit the Hawthorns, another home game. This seemed like a good opportunity for three points. I decided to try and dominate the midfield again using a 4-5-1. Simon Cox got the nod up front ahead of Lazovic, he seems to play better as the lone striker. Swansea are a strong side throughout but I have the better players and form.

This became a very weird fixture, looking at the stats my side had 18 shots to Swansea’s 6. However watching the highlights it seemed like the Welsh side dominated. I can only assume West Brom had to make do with half chances, while Swansea created the better opportunities. Simon Cox set up Jerome Thomas for a rare goal on the 22nd minute. However Swansea looked dangerous all match and equalized in the second half. Another poor result left me pondering what to try next. Different strikers, tactics, or just stick and hope things would turn around?  

Coventry were my lab rats for a different strike partnership. Playing away from home was a refreshing change after my last two results. Using a 4-4-2 I played Bednar alongside Lazovic, the idea was to have more of a physical presence in the air. Mcindoe and Eastwood are Coventry’s best players but I wasn’t going to give them any special attention. This match needed to be an attacking display from West Brom.

The first half started well, Mulumbu scored from all of 30 yards after just twelve minutes. In terms of possession and shots on goal this game was very even. However my boys were playing swift counter attacking football. So every time Coventry went forward we would win the ball back and attack. This proved to be the winning factor as West Brom scored three more goals on the counter. Bednar and Brunt in the first half, with Lazovic wrapping the game up after 82 minutes. A masterclass from every single player.  

My next game was at home to Watford. With this southern side in bad form and placed mid-table I was hoping for a repeat of the Coventry game. However I made a big mistake, as I have already said Simon Cox plays best as a lone striker. Well I played him up front with Lazovic, he put in an awful performance before being subbed. Thankfully Simon’s replacement Slory played well and scored on the 69th minute. This was shortly followed by a great goal from Koren. Watford managed a consolation goal late on but West Brom ran out 2-1 winners. A very bad performance but I was just happy to secure three points.

Next up my boys travelled to the Walkers stadium. Leicester never looked like winning but gave me a few scares. The foxes took the lead after just 16 minutes, this was their only attack of the first half. The second half kicked off with me feeling aggrieved and Nolberto Solano’s goal on the 71st minute did nothing to ease my frustration. Thankfully Luke Moore came off the bench to offer West Brom a way back, 2-1. However Solano scored agoal with only 12 minutes to go. With Leicester 3-1 up I had almost lost hope until Mulumbu scored a scrappy goal on the 90th minute. Then the impossible happened, a Brunt corner was deflected in off Adams. West Brom had equalized with the last kick of the game. This was a very exciting match, my side showed a lot of heart and courage.

My next two games were against tough opposition. Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday do not have the greatest players but are well drilled and organised in defence. My forwards struggled to make an impact and the midfield ran out of ideas. Leaving me with a 1-1 draw from both fixtures. Not exactly the finish to November I had planned, but at least we finished unbeaten.

Well thats how October and November went. On the up side I managed two or three victories and remained unbeaten. Looking at the negatives, we struggled a lot at home and drew far too many games. Thankfully these bad results have not damaged my league position. We are still top and have a five point advantage.

Looking through the squad stats I am a little disappointed. Apart from Zuiverloon my side are underperforming as individuals. Generally they come together as a unit, but it would be nice to see a few more outstanding individual performaces.

Its time again to analyse my forwards. These two months have been a major step back from the start of this season. Simon Cox has lost his form a little but is still my top goalscorer. Slory has put in a good shift of late from the right wing. Using him as an inside forward seems to be working. Unfortunately I can’t get the best out of Chris Wood. This young 17 year old is very promising but unreliable so far. I can’t help but wonder if  I am using him wrong.

The next two months are vital. December and January will probably decide my fate in the Championship. My side have to either overperform in the tough fixtures or win when we’re favourites. No matter what I have to sort out my home form.

So that concludes my post, a rather frustrating few months but West Brom are still unbeaten. You may have noticed my screen shots are different. This is because I downloaded some new skins that Johnny recommends. If you like mine just go to the skins page (at top of the screen) and download the Steklo skin. Thanks for reading and please feel free to ask any questions below. See you soon.

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11 years ago

Hi Darren, a lot of draws, but at least your still unbeaten. A bit worrying that it seems like Cox can’t play up front with anyone else, I’d of thought that’d be easier, so it’s hard to understand why. Anyway, good luck for December, it’s a crucial month and I hope you do well.

11 years ago

, despite winning just 3 games in those two months, you still sit on a comfortable 5 point lead. However, you need to start picking up some wins soon as the teams below you can easily overtake you. The next two months will be critical. Goodluck.

Kevin Mayo
11 years ago

Hello Darren
A very nice read and a great post you have put together for us to enjoy. I hope you can figure out your strike partnership or maybe you should just play a 451 all the time. It seems to serve you well. Anyway you are top of the table still so well done mate!

11 years ago

Not to worry about Darren, i actually agree with Kevin if 4-5-1 gives you the best result, you should stick with it. But that will also depends on the formation of your opposition. Nevertheless well done for remaining unbeaten and i look forward to another unbeaten month by West Brom.

Johnny Karp
11 years ago

Well, the defense seems to be working well, apart from that 3-3 at Leicester. I don’t know what would be the best tactical set up for your team but so far the results are good considering the tough competition in the Championship. You’re top of the table, 5 points clear, so it’s the other teams that should worry at this point. Well done and good luck in the following months!

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