New new new new new.
There’s tons of new players and a new manager for West Brom as they look to improve on last year’s near-miss at the bottom of the table.
Things are looking bleak for the Baggies, and while there’s plenty in the mix that could surprise the Premier League, but chances are the ingredients aren’t going to bake a tasty cake.
Instead, the chances are likely to have West Brom near the bottom of the table again, for the same general reasons, although the personnel may be different.
[Related: Full PL season preview]
Transfers in: Craig Gardner (Sunderland), Jolean Lescott (Manchester City), Chris Baird (Burnley), Sebastien Pocognoli (Hannover), Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kiev), Andrew Wisdom (Liverpool – loan).
Transfers out: Liam Ridgewell (Portland Timbers), Billy Jones (Sunderland), Steven Reid (Burnley), Cameron Gayle (Shrewsbury Town), George Thorne (Derby County), Diego Lugano (unattached), Zoltan Gera (unattached), Nicolas Anelka (unattached), Scott Allen (unattached).
Last season: West Brom struggled down the stretch, saving their Premier League status by the hair on their chinny chin chin. Three points separated the Baggies from the Championship. They went through two managers last year, parting ways with both Steve Clarke and Pepe Mel, with Keith Downing in between. They looked toothless going forward – their leading scorer had just five goals – and struggled to stay consistently competitive.
Star Player: Stephane Sessegnon
Joint leading scorer in last year’s struggle of a season, Sessegnon is an above-average player on a below-average squad. That’s about all West Brom has at this point. They dumped full-season fixtures like Diego Lugano and Zoltan Gera in the offseason, and added squad players like Jolean Lescott, Chris Baird, and an expensive left-back. Sessegnon is the creative “force” up front, and that will have to do for the Baggies.
Coach’s Corner: Alan Irvine
A surprise appointment to say the least, Irvine’s former jobs include the manager at Preston North End, Sheffield Wednesday and Everton’s youth system. Wednesday was relegated to League One under his watch, and and didn’t make it past February in the lower division.
The club reportedly asked Tim Sherwood to take the job but he turned it down, leading many to believe the job was an undesirable one. The club insisted Irvine was their first choice, but that’s just plain hard to believe. The 56-year-old is very green, and it will be interesting to see how he handles a Premier League job, and likely a relegation battle.
PST Predicts: As you probably guessed, West Brom fans are in for a nervy campaign. Like Fulham before them, West Brom brought in a number of free transfers and aging players, and don’t have a large amount of cohesiveness preserved from last year. A new manager as well, things are looking to be a recipe for disaster. With both Robbies on NBC’s Premier League preview show predicting West Brom to go down, it’s a likely bet.