Pepe Mel

Getty Images

Deportivo La Coruna fires coach Pepe Mel

Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) — Deportivo La Coruna says Pepe Mel has been fired as coach of the struggling Spanish team.

The club says that Cristobal Parralo has been promoted from coaching its reserve team and will manage its first team until the end of the season.

Deportivo lost 2-1 to recently promoted Girona at home on Monday.

The team is in 16th place, two spots and two points above the relegation zone. It has won just two of nine games this season.

Mel has coached several Spanish sides, most recently Real Betis, and had a brief stint at English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion in 2014.

West Brom search for new manager, as Pepe Mel leaves Baggies

Leave a comment

West Bromwich Albion are managerless after Spanish coach Pepe Mel decided to end his stay in the Premier League after less than six months in charge at the Hawthorns.

Arriving in January after the surprise dismissal of Steve Clarke, Mel has won just three of his 17 PL games in charge, drawing six and losing eight.

The former Real Betis manager was under fire from the beginning as he didn’t bring his own coaching staff to West Brom and reports were leaked out that his influence on plenty of team matters was extremely limited. The 51-year-old manager previously led Spanish clubs Ray Vallecano and Betis to success and you could see that the Baggies were starting to play extremely attractive soccer and were very hard to beat as they drew a league-high 15 games in the 2013-14 season.

However after finishing just one place and three points above the relegation zone, a meeting between Mel and the West Brom board on Monday resulted in an amicable split. This is what the statement on West Brom’s website had to say.

West Bromwich Albion have parted company with Pepe Mel by mutual consent. Both parties have decided to go their separate ways following talks between the Board of Directors and the Head Coach today. Mel was appointed in January and was in charge of 17 Barclays Premier League matches, which yielded three wins, six draws and eight defeats.

Sporting & Technical Director Richard Garlick said: “We would like to thank Pepe for his efforts over the past four months in helping to keep the Club in the Premier League and wish him well for the future. Both Pepe and the Club set out with the best intentions of making the appointment work. However, having reflected on events both on and off the field during our talks today, it became apparent that it was in the best interests of both parties for there to be an amicable parting.”

Watch Live: Arsenal vs. West Bromwich Albion (Lineups and Discuss)

Leave a comment

With Everton’s loss to Manchester City on Saturday, Arsenal have already qualified for the Champions League – so will they go easy on West Brom when they visit the Emirates today? (Watch live on NBCSN at 8:30 a.m. ET and online via Live Extra).

The Albion likely wouldn’t object to an easy three points. After picking up seven points from their last three matches, they’ve moved up to 16th, four points above the drop. Relegation doesn’t look likely, as West Brom still have a game in hand, but beating Arsenal would guarantee the Baggies’ safety. Plus, it would lift them over rivals Aston Villa once more, which is always important in the Midlands.

But Arsenal still have a (very) slim chance of reaching third. The Gunners are certain of Champions League play, but if they overtake Chelsea, they’ll skip qualifying and go straight to the group stages. This hope will only be realized if Arsenal win their final two matches and Chelsea lose to both Norwich and Cardiff, but hey, it’s fun to dream, right, Gunners fans?

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

After last week’s 1-0 victory over West Ham, Pepe Mel makes just two changes to the Albion side. Steven Reid, injured last weekend, is out, as is Billy Jones. Diego Lugano comes in to reinforce the defense, while James Morrison steps into midfield. It looks like Mel’s chosen to go with a back three – are the Baggies aiming for just a point at the Emirates?

Abou Diaby makes his return to Arsenal after thirteen months out, starting the match on the bench. After last week’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle, there’s just one change for Arsène Wenger. Mathieu Flamini steps in for Aaron Ramsey, who was fantastic in his return last week after four months out with injury. Looks like Wenger wants to make sure the midfielder stays fit for the FA Cup final.

LINEUPS

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Arteta, Cazorla, Ozil, Podolski, Giroud

Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Kallstrom, Rosicky, Diaby, Sanogo

West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Dawson, Lugano, Olsson, Brunt, Amalfitano, Mulumbu, Morrison, Dorrans, Sessegnon, Berahino

Subs: Myhill, Anichebe, O’Neil, Sinclair, Vydra, McAuley, Yacob

Watch Live: Norwich City vs. West Bromwich Albion (Lineups and Discuss)

Leave a comment

West Brom can’t afford to repeat last week’s mistakes as they travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).

Last week against fellow strugglers Cardiff City, West Brom held a 2-1 lead into the 73rd minute, when the visitors equalized. The Baggies must’ve thought they were home free when a goal from Thievy Bifouma sparked celebrations at the Hawthorns. But before the ground had even quieted, Mats Daehli equalized for Cardiff, and the sides were forced to share the spoils.

That leaves West Brom just three points in the clear, although they do still have a game in hand. Norwich, meanwhile, aren’t comfortable either, just six points above the drop. The Canaries do have home field advantage, however, having not lost a match at Carrow Road this calendar year. But considering their lackluster performance in the 3-0 loss at Swansea last weekend, will that advantage really be enough?

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

Norwich have made two changes from the side that lost in Wales last time out, with Joseph Yobo coming in for Ryan Bennett, and Gary Hooper replacing Ricky van Wolfswinkel up top.

The visitors have just one change, and, no surprise, it’s a defensive one. Jonas Olsson comes in for Craig Dawson at center back. Is Pepe Mel counting on another early goal from Morgan Amalfitano, coupled with a better defensive display from the Baggies?

LINEUPS

Norwich City: Ruddy; Martin, Yobo, Bassong, Olsson; Snodgrass, Howson, Tettey, Hoolahan; Elmander, Hooper

Subs: Bunn, Whittaker, Johnson, van Wolfswinkel, Gutierrez, Becchio, Redmond.

West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Amalfitano, Morrison, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Sessegnon, Vydra

Subs: Myhill, Thievy, Berahino, Dawson, O’Neil, Gera, Anichebe

Pepe Mel: It’s the win that’s important, not his post at West Brom

Leave a comment

It looked as though Pepe Mel was going to come away from his eighth game in charge of West Brom with yet another draw – and still no wins to his name. Roland Lamah had given Swansea the lead after just two minutes, but Stéphane Sessègnon had equalized at the start of the second half.

Then, in the 85th minute, Youssouf Mulumbu put the ball through Jordi Amat’s legs to give West Bromwich Albion the win. It was Mel’s first win since his appointment back in January, but more than that, it gave the Baggies a much needed lift. Suddenly they were in 16th, three points above the danger zone, and with a game in hand on a few other side also trying to avoid the drop.

(READ MORE: WIN AT SWANSEA GIVES WEST BROM FIRST WIN UNDER MEL)

Prior to the match at the Liberty Stadium, there were plenty of rumors swirling, alleging that Mel would find himself on the unemployment line should he not manage a result against Swansea. Turns out, that didn’t seem to affect the Spaniard at all. When asked about the rumors, Mel said, “My position is not important. What is most important is to win, for the fans and the players. The future for West Brom for me is good.”

Now that’s the sort of talk fans will love from a manager. At least, they’ll love it if it’s backed up with results. Fortunately for West Brom fans, the boss seems convinced that more wins will follow: “It was important we equalised early in the second half because confidence is a problem and it gave us the confidence to go on and win. Now we have 28 points and we have more confidence. We will be training with a smile on our faces next week.”

What do you think? Are the Baggies on their way to late-season success? Or are they still in danger of the drop?