Barclays Premier League Preview: West Bromwich Albion
Manager: Tony Pulis
Stadium: The Hawthorns (Capacity: 26,852)
Captain: Darren Fletcher
Top Scorer: James Morrison (3)
Biggest Signing: Matt Phillips (£5.5 million)
Last Season: 14th
West Bromwich Albion played an effective brand of football last term and although they were not the most exciting of clubs to watch there was no fear that they would go down.
The squad is jam packed with players that have either had their day or promising youngsters whilst the club do not possess any real superstar just proved by the fact their top scorer last season could only amass three goals.
Pulis is clever manager and he built Stoke into a club that was difficult to beat and took the Potters to an FA Cup semi-final something that a club such as West Brom should be aspiring to.
The Baggies should be strong at home but the games that separate the average teams from the good ones are the clashes away from home, West Brom are still in the building process but they should not be troubled with a relegation battle this season.
They have brought in one player and it’s not exactly making waves, they have cut the deadwood effectively and if they can secure one or two more players in key positions they will have a competitive squad.
Matt Phillips (Queens Park Rangers, £5.5 million)
Shaun Donnellan (Stevenage, Loan)
Victor Anichebe (Released)
Stephane Sessegnon (Released)
Anders Lindergaard (Released)
Saido Berahino remains a “problem player” for Pulis but he could soon be seeing the exit doors if not this summer then January could see him head for pastures new Crystal Palace looking a likely destination. Watford’s Odion Ighalo could be on the way to the club although that seems unlikely but could happen due to negotiations with Sakho (West Ham) falling through.
My West Bromwich Albion XI (4-2-3-1): 1 B.Foster; 16 C.Gamboa, 3 J.Olsson, 25 C.Dawson, 15 S.Poncognoli; 24 D.Fletcher, 8 C.Gardner; 10 M.Phillips, 7 J.Morrison, 11 C.Brunt; 9 S.Rondon
Barclays Premier League Preview: West Ham United
Manager: Slaven Bilic
Stadium: Olympic Stadium (Capacity: 60,010)
Captain: Mark Noble
Top Scorer: Dimitri Payet, Andy Carroll (9)
Biggest Signing: Manuel Lanzini (£9.4 million)
Last Season: 7th
West Ham have performed above and beyond over the course of the last couple of seasons and they have an unbelievable manager at the helm who will only push the London club onto bigger and better things given the resources.
With players like Mark Noble, Aaron Cresswell and Winston Reid all solid without being remarkable. Add into that remarkably talented players such as Frenchman Payet and new signing Sofiane Feghouli this deadly cocktail of players makes them an interesting prospect.
Bilic will have his team extremely well drilled and fine tuned to each opposition throughout a long and arduous season in the Premier League.
West Ham’s new home is among the biggest stadiums in European club football, it remains to be seen if the squad is deep enough to compete on more than one front. The Hammers will hope they can make the Olympic Stadium as much of a fortress as the Boleyn Ground.
West Ham have signed some really exciting players strengthening the depth in the midfield and signing some really exciting talent both up front and at the back.
Manuel Lanzini (Unattached, £9.4 million)
Andre Ayew (Swansea City, Undisclosed)
Harvard Nordveit (Borussia Monchengladbach, Undisclosed)
Arthur Masuaku (Olympiakos Piraeus, Undisclosed)
Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia FC, Free)
Ashley Fletcher (Barnsley, Free)
James Tomkins (Crystal Palace, £10 million)
Elliott Lee (Released)
Joey O’Brien (Released)
This looks as though it may be it for West Ham after they have cooled their interest in Milan forward Carlos Bacca and Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette.
My West Ham United XI (4-3-1-2): 13 Adrian; 22 S.Byram, 2 W.Reid, 21 A.Ogbonna, 3 A.Cresswell; 7 S.Feghouli, 16 M.Noble (Captain), 10 M.Lanzini; 27 D.Payet; 9 A.Carroll, 20 A.Ayew