Friday, August 15, 2008

EPL Previews: West Bromwich Albion

"West Bromwich Albion Football Club (also known as West Brom, The Baggies, Albion, The Albion, The Throstles or WBA) are an English professional football club based in West Bromwich, West Midlands. The club was formed in 1878 by workers from Salter's Spring Works in West Bromwich, and have played their home games at The Hawthorns since 1900."

Oh, Wikipedia, you magical source of information. The only thing worth noting about WBA is that they open their return to the Premiership tomorrow morning (7:45AM EST) against my beloved Gunners.

Alright, there may be a little more.

West Brom's manager has been Tony Mowbray since 2006, and in that time he is 48-22-27 in leading the club back to the Premiership. Knowing that stiffer competition was ahead, chairman Jeremy Pearce let loose the purse-strings (relatively) for the summer transfer season and got rid of some dead weight.

Out are: Luke Steele (to Barnsley); Zoltan Gera (to Fulham; didn't he used to play for COBRA?); Martin Albrechtsen (to Derby); Curtis Davies (to Aston Villa); and Kevin Phillips (to Birmingham).

In are: Roman Bednar (Heart of Midlothian); Michal Danek (Viktoria Plzen); Kim Do-Heon (Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma); Luke Moore (Aston Villa); Gianni Zuiverloon (Heerenveen); Graham Dorrans (Livingston); Marek Cech (FC Porto); Scott Carson (Liverpool); Abdoulaye Meite (Bolton).

Basically, they got rid of a bunch of guys that no one has heard of, and picked up a bunch of guys that no one has heard of pluse Moore, Carson and Meite. To make things even more confusing, they sport a defender named Paul Robinson and a defender named Pele.

New transfers Moore (thigh injury) and Zuiverloon (Dutch Olympic squad) are not available to Mowbray for the next few weeks. In addition, starting midfielder Robert Koren is recovering from a knee injury, as is starting defender Neil Clement. For the foreseeable future, Meite will replace Clement and Kim will start for Koren. What this means is that West Brom will be forced to field a team that is barely starting to come together as they push to stay up.

Unfortunately for the Baggies, they start off their season with matches @Arsenal, home against Everton, @Bolton, home against West Ham United, home against Aston Villa, and @Middlesbrough. Thus, in all likelihood they are looking at a record of 1-5 starting off October with their 1 win coming at the Reebok. In the end, however, most people are convinced that Hull and Stoke are going back down, so all West Brom has to do is outlast one other team. Call it 16th place by the skin of their teeth, and a second straight season in the Premiership for 2009/2010.

Well kids, that wraps up our EPL team previews (barely finished in time!). Enjoy all the matches this weekend, and may your favorite club win. Unless you support WBA. Then you can fuck off.

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