West Brom may have picked up their first win under Sam Allardyce at the weekend, defeating arch-rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, but there is still so much work to be done to salvage their season.
And next up is the 66-year-old’s former club, West Ham United.
Indeed, the Baggies’ only second win of the campaign would have lifted spirits in the dressing room considering they’ve just seen off their local neighbours, though they were fortunate to be gifted two penalty decisions.
“But again we conceded poor goals and we cannot do that against West Ham,” said Allardyce after the game, he also added: “Our goals have been stupid mistakes in open play and allowing the opposition to capitalise on those mistakes and score.”
This is certainly the case as no other Premier League team has leaked as many as the 41 goals that Albion have this term. In fact, that’s seven more than Leeds United.
Big Sam needs to find a new way to help his backline, and that may well be through the introduction of a proper holding midfielder. We know the Midlands outfit are looking for one in the transfer market amid links to Hamza Choudhury, William Carvalho and Okay Yokuslu.
But maybe it’s time to finally unleash Sam Field now he’s back from injury?
The 22-year-old enforcer was a surprise name on the bench up at Molineux despite Allardyce practically ruling out him being involved, which means he’s surely fit enough to feature having been back in training for several weeks now.
Last season in the Championship, West Brom did not have a better option in the role statistically, as per The Athletic.
Since the start of the 2020/21 season, Albion’s midfield has been far too easy to bypass, summed up by neither Jake Livermore nor Romaine Sawyers managing an average WhoScored rating above 6.22 despite being the two usually sitting deeper.
As you can see above, Field offers far more stability as he outscored the duo (whilst on loan at then-league rivals Charlton) for every facet one might expect an anchorman to be good at.
He won possession back more than Livermore and put in more tackles than either of the duo too.
Once again, if Field were to perform at a similar output in the top-flight, he would still rank above both of them for tackles, clearances and blocks, per WhoScored.
“He is a proper holding midfielder,” said ex-boss Slaven Bilic in the summer, adding: “He’s very good tactically, he keeps his position, he’s very good at slowing the play down, very good at helping the centre-backs when they need it, he’s quite tall so is good at heading the ball and good at tackles, reading balls and opening attacks with a good range of passing.”
Whilst Tony Pulis, who handed Field his Premier League debut, once claimed: “I think he’s going to be a fantastic player for the club. Technically, he’s as good and as gifted as any footballer I’ve seen at that age.”
He could well be the solution to Albion’s defensive problems, he must be unleashed against the Hammers this evening. He’d be a much better option than Sawyers, that’s for sure.