West Brom return to Premier League action this evening with a tricky encounter with Manchester City at the Hawthorns.
The Baggies are still languishing in the relegation zone, so this game may not be the free-hit it usually should be as they are desperate for points at the minute.
Indeed, Sam Allardyce’s men have it all to do as they sit some six points off Brighton, who occupy that 17th spot. However, Albion will face the two sides around them in the coming weeks.
It leaves the 66-year-old ‘firefighter’ with a crucial decision tonight as he needs to get his team selection spot on…
And Allardyce can do exactly that by making a big call on the flanks.
Speaking ahead of the fixture, the Baggies boss revealed he would have the services of Matty Phillips again. The winger missed the last three outings after testing positive for the virus.
Allardyce said to reporters:
“That boosts our squad. It also gives us better opportunities to make substitutions and it gives us experience.”
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him thrown straight back in as the Scotsman started the first four matches of the Big Sam era, evening captaining the side in Jake Livermore’s absence.
As a result, we could see Kamil Grosicki axed, which would be a wise decision based on his recent performances.
Only one other player that has started two or more league games this season has a worse WhoScored rating than the Polish veteran (6.19) and neither of his last two starts in the Premier League saw him graded above a 6.5, which is really poor.
The latest of which came during a defeat against West Ham where Grosicki failed to provide a single shot or dribble – two key abilities a wide man should possess. By comparison, Grady Diangana, who would start if fit, has averaged 1.5 dribbles and 0.8 shots per game, via WhoScored.
Even against League One outfit Blackpool, Grosicki looked under-par. He lost possession 20 times, which means he either struggled to combat the lower league opposition or was merely wasteful and won just two of seven duels, via SofaScore – that suggesting the former would be the case.
Despite being previously lauded as “unplayable” on his day, the £50k-per-week flop has proven in those three matches that he’s simply not good enough for the Premier League, so he must be axed from the starting XI tonight.
Phillips played a key role in the Baggies’ drawing with City last time. It makes sense for him to come back in for the struggling Grosicki this evening.