Writer: Lord Shepherd
Date:Saturday December 20 2008
21 December 2008
Mark Hughes will feel under pressure having splashed the cash this summer on the likes of Robinho and Shaun Wright-Phillips for little return but Tony Mowbray will also be feeling uncomfortable having spent £22m on a squad that many Albion fans feel is inferior to the team that won the Championship title last season.
Seventeen games in and only three wins, not one in the last ten games. All this after Tony Mowbray
predicted that a mid-table finish would be achievable with the current squad.
Some supporters say the team deserves more because of their superior possession and the number of corners won but they claim is worthy of ridicule. Deflated by the defeat to Sunderland and some have now lost faith in the Manager.
Mowbray's team has become fearful and uncertain and his "principles" are nowhere to be found. Albion are ponderous with the emphasis on keeping possession at the expense of high tempo, incisive football that typified the promotion season. A return to the free flowing football of those Championship days is needed and the Baggies will be hoping to achieve this against Man City.
Make no mistake this game is massive for both teams, if West Brom win they will only be 3 points behind the high spending City and back in touch with safety. After such an appalling run of games it is quite amazing that the Baggies are still in with a shout of staying up but they must win this game.
While West Brom have struggled to adjust to the Premier League after winning promotion, Hughes has nothing but respect for his opposite number Tony Mowbray.
Hughes added: 'West Brom are a good side. They came up in fine style last season.
'I know Tony well, because I have been on courses with him. He is very much a football man. He likes his sides to get the ball down and pass it around. He sticks to his principles.
'I am sure it will be a good game for the neutral. From our point of view, we are looking to be progressive and win the game.'
After the dreadful defeat to Sunderland and illness to a few of the squad this week Tony Mowbray has to decide whether to make changes for this game. Expect Luke Moore to keep his place up front though.
West Brom (from): Carson, Zuiverloon, Hoefkens, Meite, Barnett, Donk, Olsson, Robinson, Cech, Kim, Morrison, Greening, Valero, Koren, Teixeira, Brunt, Bednar, Moore, Beattie, MacDonald, Pele, Kiely.
Following injury to Ishmael Miller, Luke Moore needs to open his scoring account to silence those fans doubting his commitment to the cause.
City have a few problems with Robinho likely to miss the match. Richard Dunne could be missing after not travelling to Spain in midweek for personal reasons. Jo and Danny Sturridge could also be missing with a virus and achilles injury, respectively.
Shaun Wright-Phillips will be sure to give Paul Robinson a torrid afternoon.
2-1 to the Baggies with Luke Moore finally getting off the mark.
Chelsea at Stamford Bridge for a 1 O'Clock kick off on Boxing Day followed by a home game against Spurs on 28 December kicking off at 2pm.
Date:Saturday December 20 2008
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