West Bromwich Albion

Teams /  England  / West Bromwich Albion 
West Bromwich Albion have 164 Fans
Stoke make virtue of England's vices to punish soft West Brom
Joe Lovejoy at The Hawthorns - 3 years ago

More food for thought here after a week which resurrected the hoary debate about why England cannot play like the best teams on the continent. West Brom are trying it and getting thumped by the good old Anglo-Saxon approach favoured by Stoke and Blackpool, to name but two.

Albion, like England, simply do not possess sufficient players blessed with technique good enough to make it work, and while trying to play a more sophisticated game is clearly a laudable objective, it is destined to fail in the short, or even medium term.

The Baggies stuck to their high-minded principles under Tony Mowbray and were relegated and, with one point from their last five matches, Roberto di Matteo's class of 2010 may well go the same way. For much of the match they were the better, more cohesive team, and the scoreline flatters Stoke – inflated as it was by two goals in the last five minutes, when Albion pursuit of an equaliser.

Unfortunately for the purist, however, their easy-on-the-eye approach work came to naught for the want of an accurate final pass and Tony Pulis's more rudimentary style prevailed. Like England, Stoke deploy two holding players in midfield and two wide men to supply their forwards. Again like England against France, the service provided to the main striker was so poor that Kenwyne Jones, like Andy Carroll, had to fight for scraps.

The difference, of course, was that West Brom, unlike the French, were powder-puff in attack, and Stoke were able to win with the considerable assistance of two disputed [aren't they all?] penalties. Matthew Etherington tucked away the first and was later substituted in favour of Jonathan Walters, who safely dispatched the second, then completed the scoring in the final minute to cap a memorable week in which he was capped by the Republic of Ireland.

The result leaves Stoke in the top half of the table, with three successive wins at the top level for the first time since February 1984, when Steve Bould, Alan Hudson and Sammy McIlroy were too good for Ipswich, Coventry and Notts County.

On Saturday, a big, rugged defender in Bould's image was Stoke's best player. Pulis said of Ryan Shawcross: "For me, he is the best young English centre-half in the country, and I've had a chat with him about England. Ryan's just got to keep playing well and hopefully one day he will get what we're all desperate for him to get – and that's an England cap.The kid is only 22 and he's got as good a chance as anybody of being a future England captain."

Man of the match: Ryan Shawcross.

This is not a news report and may contain views expressed by the author which are not supported by GNM.

Share your thoughts
Sign in to comment

Latest News, Blogs & Podcasts

West Brom head coach Alan Irvine has called for patience over striker Brown Ideye, who is yet to score for the Baggies.
west-bromwich-albion - 9 hours ago
Alan Irvine has called for calm over Brown Ideye and insisted it is only a matter of time before the B£10million man opens his West Brom account.
Swansea are expected to field their new recruit, Federico Fernández, from the outset and he will be tasked with containing West Bromwich Albions record signing, Brown Ideye, although he will be ...
Match preview and team news of the Premier League game between Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday August 30, 2014, kick-off 15.00 (BST)
Join Jeff Stelling and the Soccer Saturday team to keep up with all the goal news this weekend.
Alan Irvine is confident Craig Dawson and Claudio Yacob will see out the transfer window on the books at West Bromwich Albion.
Preview followed by live coverage of Saturday's Premier League game between Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion.
west-bromwich-albion - 21 hours ago
Team news, match facts, manager quotes and fantasy pick for the Premier League game between Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion at the Liberty Stadium.
The Swans have made an impressive start to the season, beating Manchester United and Burnley in their opening two fixtures, and hope to make it three from three against West Brom
west-bromwich-albion - 21 hours ago
Georgios Samaras must wait for his West Brom debut with the striker yet to regain match fitness.
Sky Sports | Football - 22 hours ago
Swansea City will be looking to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season when they play host to West Bromwich Albion.
Sky Sports | Football - 22 hours ago
The time for transfer talk is almost over – but there’s just time to get the lowdown on the late movers on this week’s Sunday Supplement.
West Brom boss Alan Irvine is keen to avoid any late transfer drama as he bids to make one last signing before Monday's deadline.
Chelsea travel to Everton for Saturday Night Football, while Super Sunday features Tottenham Hotspur’s game against Liverpool and Arsenal’s visit to Leicester City.
Alan Irvine admits he wants to avoid a late transfer dash at West Brom as he hunts one final signing.
Manchester United's conquerors MK Dons draw League One Bradford in the third round of the Capital One Cup.
MK Dons' reward for knocking Manchester United out of the Capital One Cup is a third-round home tie against fellow League One side Bradford.
Former West Brom boss Steve Clarke has revealed he would entertain an offer to coach in the Indian Super League.
Michael Appleton expressed his pride after seeing his Oxford side take Barclays Premier League's West Brom to penalties in the second round of the Capital One
West Brom boss Alan Irvine was relieved to see his team scrape past Oxford and avoid becoming another high profile Capital One Cup casualty.

Latest Photo Galleries

Roberto Di Matteo
3 years ago
The West Brom manager stars as Dr Evil, Frank Sidebottom and in some second-rate TV drama
Sir Bobby Robson's career in pictures
5 years ago
Following Sir Bobby Robson's death at the age of 76, we look back on the former England and Newcastle manager's life in football
Tony Mowbray
5 years ago
The West Brom manager as Zebedee, Ivan Drago and a rather jaunty hat
Kick4Life - changing lives through football