One must not expect more than a mid-table finish from an outfit managed by Tony Pulis. West Brom’s 2016-17 Premier League campaign was no exception despite a promising inception and a couple of high-scoring games. The Baggies, who spent a majority of the campaign at eighth spot, clinched a tenth-placed finish following series of disappointing outcomes as they failed to win any of their last nine league games ( 2D 7L). The tediousness of ‘Pulisball’ continued for the West Midlands outfit and the Baggies might expect another season at mid-table under one of Premier League’s most ‘consistent’ managers.
West Bromwich Albion Players Who Impressed This Season
Pulis is known for his long ball strategy and create pressure from set-pieces ( particularly from corners) piling up big bodies up front. 37-year old centre-back Gareth McAuley adjusted to ‘Pulisball’ more than anyone else in the team as the 6 ft 5 in defender netted 7 times in 37 appearances, all from set-pieces and scored only one goal less than their season’s top scorer Venezuelan international Salomon Rondon (8). Former Spurs winger Nacer Chadli had an impressive start for the Baggies so did Matt Phillips who joined them from QPR last summer. However, both of them struggled to regain fitness and form since returning from injury but veteran James Morrison stepped up from his long-standing injury concerns and ended the season on a high note.
Players Who Disappointed The Most
Salomon Rondon, their star striker, has been the biggest disappointment for the Baggies. He scored only 8 goals in 35 Premier League outings, thus his side struggled to find the back of the net on most occasions and had to rely on set-pieces. Wales’ Euro 2016 star Hal Robson-Kanu, who joined them on a Bosman transfer, failed to replace him up front as he managed to score only twice in 27 league appearances.
With a promising start last year, the Baggies were tipped to be a challenger for a European spot. But the late hiccups and consistent poor outcomes saw them slip to 10th in the league. Their performance in both the domestic cup competitions was even more woeful as they were knocked out from the early rounds to lower league opponents like Northampton Town and Derby County.
Areas Of Improvement
Baggies boss Tony Pulis retained Saido Berahino against his wishes until January and his monotonous football philosophy does not fancy any youthful and creative resources to play for his side. Pulis tried to break his rigidity earlier last campaign and must continue doing that if he wishes to bring in dynamic options. Darren Fletcher has been released upon expiration of his contract and Pulis must bring in an experienced midfield option who has played Premier League football. Also, he needs to find a centre back as well as left back to strengthen his defence and a forward who can add 15-goals a season.
Expectations From 2017-18 Season
West Brom won’t go down to the second division, however, they won’t improve much either compared to their league finish of 2016-17 campaign. What they should improve is their cup run and try to proceed as much as they can in near future.