West Brom’s season could truly get kickstarted with a victory this weekend as they head to arch-rivals Wolves for the first Black Country derby in nine years.
The Baggies are yet to pick up three points since Sam Allardyce was appointed as Slaven Bilic’s successor a month ago, whilst overall it’s been just one win in 17 outings, and that was to the only side below them in the standings, Sheffield United.
Big Sam has it all to do if he’s to turn around their situation and avoid that first relegation on his CV, but a win over the Molineux-based outfit could spark a much-needed reaction.
Though, he’ll have to get his team selection spot on to even stand a chance.
Latest signing Robert Snodgrass is in line for his debut after swapping West Ham for the Hawthorns last week, though his lack of game time this term is worrying.
The 33-year-old veteran has played just four minutes in the top-flight, so maybe he’ll have to wait to start from the off. It’s no wonder David Moyes sanctioned his departure.
That said, Allardyce’s current options out wide are clearly not working as they aren’t scoring or creating many goals.
No winger has managed above an average rating of 6.49 per WhoScored, whilst Grady Diangana, Callum Robinson and Matty Phillips have only contributed towards 36% of their 11 goals scored in the league.
For comparison, the trio bagged 18 goals and 14 assists between them last term – 41% of their total, so clearly there has been some regression there.
As neither of those options are working, an instant berth for Snodgrass would be ideal but considering his lack of fitness, it’s time for Big Sam to turn to Kamil Grosicki.
After all, he’s an 80-time Polish international who has delivered five assists in 16 Premier League appearances, and was also one of the only players to come away with any plaudits in their FA Cup exit last weekend.
Only Matheus Pereira matched his SofaScore rating of 7.4, and in 120 minutes, he provided three key passes, but without a striker named, it was hard to convert those chances into goals.
Once dubbed “unplayable” by his former Hull teammate Jackson Irvine and a “massive threat” by Nigel Adkins, it would be a risk worth taking to unleash him on Wolves despite the £25k-per-week outcast only playing three times this campaign.
Snodgrass could well feature too, but Grosicki must be given a fair opportunity before he’s truly written off by Allardyce and let’s face it, he surely can’t do worse than Phillips, who has failed to contribute towards a goal or manage above a 6.55 rating in five straight starts.
It’s time to unshackle the 32-year-old on that right flank.
AND in other news, Albion can finally replace Nathan Ferguson with £65k-per-week “top player”…