It didn’t start well, but was West Brom’s win over Wolves at the weekend the first real sign the Sam Allardyce effect is taking hold at the Hawthorns…?
Sam Allardyce is the sort of manager that you don’t want to see at your club, but you’re glad when you do.
You don’t want to see him because that usually means there’s a pretty big mess to clear up, but you’re glad because there’s a decent chance he’s going to clean it up.
That hadn’t been the case in his opening few games at West Brom, though: there was the draw at Liverpool, but there was also a 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa (admittedly in his first game so he didn’t have much chance to change anything), a 4-0 spanking by Arsenal, that 5-0 shoeing at the hands of Leeds United and of course defeat to League One Blackpool in the FA Cup.
The inevitable suspicion was that Allardyce had bitten off more than he could chew, that this West Brom team were simply not good enough and no amount of Sam magic could save them.
But this weekend, the first signs that The Sam Plan is starting to work came, when the Baggies beat their local rivals 3-2.
“This was a huge first victory, especially in this fixture,” said Michael Cox on The Totally Football Show.
So can we see Allardyce’s influence on the team?
“It was an absolutely classic Allardyce game, in that there were five goals and none of them came from open play. Two came from corners, two penalties and a long throw. I think if Allardyce could narrow the game down to set pieces he would.
“They do look better. They are well-organised. Pereira was heavily involved, Robinson was heavily involved.
“I really like the signing of Robert Snodgrass. I know a few people were saying it was really boring, a Premier League journeyman signing for West Brom. But I think he’s got really good technical quality, I think he needs to be around players who will run off him, but he strikes me as the sort of player Allardyce has done a good job with throughout his career.
“1) in the sense that he’s getting on a bit, this is probably his last Premier League move, and 2) in that sense that he’s a really good set piece taker and a really good crosser.”
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