After a spirited second half performance this afternoon in a 2-2 draw against Fulham, West Brom still only walked off the pitch with a point in a game which they had to take all three of them. It was a fixture that was vital for both clubs, but being on West Brom’s turf you would like to think they should have been favorites despite the fans not being able to give them the 12th man advantage.
It’s officially been six weeks since Sam Allardyce took over at West Brom after the sacking of Slaven Bilic and since his arrival they’ve played eight Premier League fixtures and accumulated only one win and two draws. He’s a man who is brought in to achieve one thing and that is Premier League Survival. His CV is a strong one for this whether it be his time with Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland or Crystal Palace where he’s kept all three clubs up after taking over at difficult times. He’s a manager that can grind out results and bring the best out of certain personnel. There is no doubt that most clubs who find themselves in the bottom three during the Christmas period would move heaven and earth to acquire his services which West Brom did. On this occasion though it does seem Sam is struggling and I believe it’s a more complex issue for him and his team. I believe football has evolved and specifically in this country. The high press and playing from the back has become a style of play most teams across the leagues have adopted and if you walk past Sunday league teams now you’ll even see big Dave and big John looking to conduct the same approach. Sam however tends to have a slightly different philosophy which is to soak up pressure and hope to hit the opposition on the counter attack or get results through set pieces. During his time in the media he was very critical of Leeds United’s tactics and their approach to games. Come 29th December and Big Sam’s thrid game in charge, Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds beat West Brom 5-0 at the Hawthorns. I mentioned in an article I wrote about Steve Bruce a month ago about certain Managers maybe not being suitable for the game at this time and it could be that Big Sam does fall into that category. It’s probably fair to say if this was three or four years ago West Brom and Sam would have picked up more points due to where Premier League football was at that time and the set up each team in the league had.
Sam has acted in the transfer market and it will be interesting to see the impact made by bringing in the reliable Robert Snodgrass from West Ham who will always give give you 100%, and Mbaye Diagne from Galatasaray on loan who will bring presence in the box standing at 6ft 4in. It is still early days and he does have time but with West Brom playing Sheffield United, Burnley and Brighton in the next five games in these next four weeks, it will be a huge February for the club and for Sam and a real indication on where they will be come the end of the season.
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