Nacer Chadli

Leicester City 1-1 West Brom: Mahrez nets first goal of PL season

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The Foxes haven’t had the start to the season that Craig Shakespeare and Co. would have hoped for, but Monday’s performance was certainly a step in the right direction.

[ MORE: Mike Ashley puts Newcastle up for sale ]

Leicester City pulled out a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion at the King Power Stadium, however, the Foxes remain in the bottom three of the Premier League.

Riyad Mahrez had plenty of chances on the day, and he rescued his side with 10 minutes remaining after powering home a strike into the far corner. The goal marks the Algerian’s first of the 2017/18 campaign.

Despite a frustrating opening hour, the visitors led on 63 minutes when Nacer Chadli curled home a brilliant free kick that left Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel stunned.

For the Belgium international, Chadli becomes West Brom’s seventh different goalscorer of the season.

Leicester nearly came out flying in the second stanza whenMahrez had an open chance in the center of the Baggies penalty area, however, the Algerian winger’s left-footed attempt was too high to hit the target.

[ MORE: Liverpool’s Lovren accuses Lukaku of deliberate stamp ]

Mahrez’s chance came just minutes after West Brom keeper Boaz Myhill was nearly sent off after the 34-year-old took out a streaking Jamie Vardy on the edge of the penalty box.

Monday’s result means both clubs have now gone six matches with a win in PL play.

Premier League 2017-18 preview – West Bromwich Albion

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West Brom is an interesting case. With Tony Pulis leading the way, the Baggies have not truly flirted with relegation since their 17th-place finish in 2014 that saw them finish just three points above the drop. But with finishes of 13th, 14th, and 10th since then, what exactly defines a successful season for the Baggies?

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Premier League obscurity is not a bad thing anymore. With the massive amounts of cash that come with a spot in the English top flight, a long stretch of bottom-half finishes could see the club amass money to eventually become a major player in the market. Clearly, West Brom is biding its time until the club can make a serious move, although the risky acquisition of Jay Rodriguez proves ambition. However, with teams constantly improving around them, the Baggies did little business this summer, which is worrying.

Best, worst case scenarios – The most Baggies fans can usually hope for is Premier League safety, but did last season’s 10th-placed finish change the expectations? Growth is always what any club hopes to achieve, whether it be short-term or long-term, and now fans will be looking for a top-half spot. The Baggies have just one other Premier League top-half finish ever, coming in 2012/13 just before the relegation scare. It would seem the best-case scenario would be for West Brom to match that achievement with hopes of long-term growth from there.

Worst-case would see this club relegated. There is no true star-power on the squad, and while Tony Pulis has a steady ship currently, it’s not hard to envision a few poor results spiraling things out of control.


Best possible XI is…

Foster

Dawson — Evans — McAuley — Nyom

Livermore — Yacob

Phillips — Morrison — Chadli

Rondon


[ MORE: 2017-18 PL season preview hub ] 

Transfers In: Jay Rodriguez (Southampton, $16 million), Ahmed Hegazy (Al Alhy, Loan).

Transfers Out: Craig Gardner (Birmingham, $2 million), Sebastian Pocognoli (Standard Liege, Free), Darren Fletcher (Stoke City, Free).

Last season: 

— 10th place in Premier League
— FA Cup 3rd Round (lost to Derby County)
— League Cup 2nd Round (lost to Northampton Town)

Star Player: Matt Phillips — With Nacer Chadli struggling for consistency on a team that utilizes the flanks, Matt Phillips is the engine to the machine. With nine assists last season to lead the team in his first season with the Baggies, Phillips is a critical part of a team that doesn’t attack a whole lot.

Unfortunatley, Phillips tweaked his hamstring in preseason, and according to manager Tony Pulis, it could be related to repeated back problems the 26-year-old struggles with. If those two problems keep him out for any significant amount of time, West Brom will have to lean on Chadli, who flashes brilliance at times but also tends to disappear quite often. That was evident last season when he made 31 Premier League appearances, but only completed the full 90 minutes 10 times. This team needs Phillips.

Coach’s Corner: Tony Pulis — Pulis has provided a steady presence wherever he goes. He locks teams down, turns them into a disciplined machine, and grinds out results. West Brom sorely needed his presence when he arrived, and now growth seems attainable. The 59-year-old doesn’t bring an exciting style of play, but occasionally the excitement arrives in the surprising results. Last season, the Baggies took care of business against teams below them and upset Arsenal down the stretch.

PST Predicts: The key this season is to stay healthy and avoiding long stretches of failure. If Phillips is indeed injured for a while, there’s not much depth for the Baggies to fall back on. Most worrying is the nine-match winless run to finish the season last year, which featured seven losses. Often, that can be a harbinger of how things will go the following campaign, especially considering the squad hardly turned over this summer. It would be great to see Tony Pulis take this team into the top half two years in a row, but more likely they will end up looking over their shoulders in 14th.

Chadli off West Brom preseason trip after Pulis bust-up

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Nacer Chadli has had a row with Tony Pulis and, predictably, he’s lost.

The Daily Telegraph reports that West Brom’s record signing has not traveled with the Baggies for the preseason trip to Austria after complaining to Pulis about the nature of the grueling week-long trip to the Alps to get them ready for the upcoming Premier League campaign.

Chadli will now stay at home and train on his own and is due to link up with this teammates in Hong Kong when they take part in the Asia Trophy later this month.

That won’t be awkward at all…

Chadli, 27, initially impressed after joining from Tottenham Hotspur last summer with the Belgian international scoring four goals in his first five PL games for the Baggies. He then struggled with an injury in November and scored just one more goal in 2016-17 following his initial flurry.

Pulis is not a man who will have taken kindly to having his preseason preparations questioned but the report states that he and Chadli ended the “heated” discussion amicably enough.

You can call Pulis many things, but unprepared isn’t one of them.

West Brom lost the least days to injury in the PL last season and have gone on a similar trip to the Alps in each of the three seasons Pulis has been in charge with hill runs and 5 a.m. wake up calls the norm. Pulis is renowned for his attention to detail and that’s backed up by his team scoring the most goals from set-piece situations last season, and although they dropped off drastically in the second half of the season he managed to get the best out of the players at his disposal.

This is maybe Pulis’ way of making all of his players aware that the end of last season was not acceptable and it won’t happen again.

Making an example of arguably his most-talented player proves that Pulis isn’t here to mess around. We all knew that anyway. Apparently Chadli didn’t.

Premier League Preview: Tottenham vs. West Brom

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Dele Alli returns to where everything collapsed around him.

Last year, with Tottenham pushing as high in the Premier League table as they could, looking to one-up arch rivals Arsenal, it all went wrong at home against West Brom. Alli sucker punched Claudio Yacob in the penalty area, earning him a three-match ban with four matches remaining. Spurs failed to win against the Baggies or anyone else to finish the season, ending up in third just a point behind Arsenal.

[ MORE: Diego Costa to miss Leicester City match due to fight with Conte ]

Now, Dele Alli is in the headlines for all the right reasons. Spurs have won five straight, and Alli has scored a massive seven goals in their last four, even more incredible given he’s a midfielder.

Can West Brom stop the Spurs machine that is on a tear? Tony Pulis has painted his own masterpiece with the Baggies this season. They may have fallen out of the FA Cup to a good Derby side this past weekend, but they’ve won two straight in the league and have played top teams close.

The problem is in front of goal. In their last three matches against top teams (vs. Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea), they’ve held opponents to just four goals, but have scored none. Can Pulis find the answer on the attacking end?

What they’re saying

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on Dele Alli: “[The punch of Yacob] was one season ago, he is a very clever and smart guy. Now he feels what happened last season and he is more mature now, he has learnt a lot. You try to advise and translate your experience and make them better.”

West Brom manager Tony Pulis on former Spurs winger Nacer Chadli“We had him right at a level that he wants to be, and I don’t think – even if you speak to him – he has got back to that level since his injury. But we think he’s not just a player for now, he’s a player for the future. The young players will learn off him, because his ability is fantastic.”

Prediction

West Brom’s tactics are everything that Spurs hate. Tottenham is clicking on all cylinders, but all good things must come to an end. A 1-1 draw leaves Mauricio Pochettino frustrated postmatch.

West Brom 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Ben Foster, take several bows

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  • Chadli scores vs. old team
  • Alli equalizes late
  • Foster fantastic for WBA

Dele Alli finally found a way past Ben Foster, and Tottenham Hotspur managed a point at the Hawthorns in a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Ex-Spurs man Nacer Chadli put Tony Pulis‘ men in front in the 82nd minute, but the lead didn’t make it to the 90th minute.

The point means Spurs sit one point back of both Arsenal and Man City for the Premier League lead, while West Brom is 10th with 10 points.

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The story of the first half was Spurs’ inability to get a ball behind West Brom keeper Ben Foster.

Tottenham dominated the frame with most of the possession and five corner kicks, but Foster was particularly strong against Christian Eriksen as the Baggies hit the half at 0-0.

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West Brom was a bit brighter at times in the second half, but then a long pause saw Toby Alderweireld stretchered off the pitch was a leg injury. How would both teams respond to the near five-minute break?

About the same. The Baggies broke through when James McClean hit the post and Spurs entire defense took a nap, allowing Chadli to score. Chadli, if you’re wondering, did not celebrate his goal.

But Alli’s 89th minute finish of a tidy pass from Christian Eriksen allowed Spurs to snare a point.

Foster made an amazing save in stoppage time to highlight his Man of the Match performance.