Scouting report: West Bromwich Albion

We've cast our eye over West Bromwich Albion before the Throstles’ visit to Stamford Bridge on Monday…

 

MANAGER

Alan Pardew. The west-London native was appointed as the permanent success to Tony Pulis at The Hawthorns at the end of November, but it took him a while to make his presence felt on the team’s performances. Pardew first made his name at Reading, leading them from League One to within a whisker of promotion to the top flight. His most successful time in management came at Newcastle, following spells with West Ham, Charlton and Southampton, becoming the only Magpies boss to win the Premier League Manager of the Year award after guiding them to European qualification in 2011/12. Between then and West Brom he managed Crystal Palace, reaching the 2016 FA Cup final.

KEY PLAYER

Salomon Rondon. He may not be as prolific as some Premier League strikers, but Rondon’s contribution as a target man and willing runner in attack has been crucial for West Brom ever since he arrived from Zenit St Petersburg in 2015. Now in his third season in English football, the Venezuelan’s ability to hold up the ball when isolated, win it in the air and use his pace to trouble defenders when chasing long passes has been even more important as the Baggies have struggled to find their rhythm in 2017/18.

RECENT FORM

Pardew’s influence finally brought the improved performances and upturn in results the club had been hoping for in January, with FA Cup away wins at Exeter and Liverpool, and a win over Brighton followed by a hard-earned point at Everton in the Premier League, going four games undefeated for the first time since August. However, since then they have suffered back-to-back defeats, losing 3-0 at Manchester City and 3-2 on home soil to Southampton, the latter particularly disappointing given they had taken the lead after just four minutes. They will certainly be hoping to improve on their last performance against Chelsea, when an Eden Hazard brace and strikes from Marcos Alonso and Alvaro Morata gave us a 4-0 league victory at the Hawthorns in November.

ONE TO WATCH

Chris Brunt. One of the players to have benefited from a new lease of life under Pardew, having found himself increasingly sidelined under Pulis earlier in the season, Brunt has returned to the starting line-up and his role as creator-in-chief, setting up four goals in his last four appearances. The Northern Ireland international’s trusted left-foot is especially dangerous from set pieces, something West Brom pose a big threat with, due to the lingering influence of Pulis’ time as manager.

WORN BOTH BADGES

Daniel Sturridge. The striker only joined West Brom last month, as the Throstles looked to improve their attacking options and the former Blue plotted a loan move to secure him more playing time and a place in the England squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia. He spent four seasons as a Chelsea player after joining from Manchester City in 2009, finishing as our top scorer in the FA Cup in his debut season as we won the competition, and our first domestic Double. He received a Champions League winner’s medal in 2012, as an unused substitute for the final in Munich, and signed off by scoring to put us ahead in extra-time of an epic 5-4 victory against Manchester United in the League Cup fourth round, before heading to Liverpool in 2013.