SussexBaggie speaks... A win at last!

Last updated : 25 September 2013 By Site Editor

Everything suddenly looks a lot brighter for Albion fans.

We might have only five points from our opening five Premier League games, and face an unenviable run of fixtures over the next few weeks, but we finally got off the mark on Saturday with a deserved 3-0 win over Sunderland at The Hawthorns.

Goals from former Sunderland player Stephane Sessegnon (somewhat inevitably), Liam Ridgewell and Morgan Amalfitano did the damage in a game that Albion never looked like losing, after Sessegnon gave us the lead midway through the first half.

The main talking point among the home supporters as they left The Hawthorns was undoubtedly the performance of Amalfitano.

As well as claiming two assists and getting on the score-sheet himself on his home debut, he showed the kind of skill and crossing ability down the right-hand side that we have been lacking for several months.

Some critics have suggested that the main reason for the emphatic nature of Albion’s victory was the poor Sunderland side they were coming up against.

Admittedly, the visitors were abysmal and it was no surprise to see Paulo Di Canio sacked little over 24 hours after facing the away fans at the final whistle and making ‘chin-up’ gestures towards them. However, to just focus on the poor performance of the opposition would be doing Albion and Steve Clarke a disservice.

For the first time this season, Clarke picked a team capable of causing the opposition problems from the start rather than trying to stay in the game for the first hour or so before grabbing a goal on the break late on.

It is also no coincidence that we looked at our most balanced for a long time after Clarke reverted back to the 4-2-3-1 formation that had been so successful at the start of last season, with the out-of-sorts Claudio Yacob replaced by James Morrison in a deep-lying role in front of the back four alongside Youssouf Mulumbu.

Next up for Albion sees Arsenal visit the Hawthorns for a Capital One Cup third round tie on Wednesday.

We progressed through the second round against Newport County with ease thanks to a Saido Berahino hat-trick and will undoubtedly face a much tougher test on Wednesday, even if Arsenal use the game as an opportunity to give some of their development squad players first team experience.

We crashed out of the competition at this stage last season after a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool, despite Clarke naming a strong side on paper.

We should really be targeting the cup competitions this year, and with a number of the better Premier League sides facing each other this week, we would have a reasonable chance of progressing if we can get past one of the favourites for the competition ourselves.

Three days later, we face a trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in the first of four incredibly tough league fixtures.

United have looked like a team in transition under David Moyes so far this season, despite only making one big-money summer signing in Marouane Fellaini.

However, most Albion fans are probably expecting to suffer a convincing defeat following United’s humiliating 4-1 derby defeat at Manchester City on Sunday and their record of putting such defeats behind them in emphatic style.

Although they have an opportunity to put this behind them in the cup against Liverpool during the week, they will of course be looking at getting three points from their next league game in order to stabilise and try and put behind them a tough opening five games which have only yielded seven points.

Nobody will be expecting us to get a result from this game, but we have absolutely nothing to fear and so will hopefully go there and play with the freedom we did for much of the game on Saturday.

One victory cannot completely paper over the cracks of what has been an otherwise underwhelming start to the season, but we seem to have genuine strength in depth for the first time in a long while in the final third and also have players who will not be phased by games against some of the biggest sides in the league over the next few weeks.

Boing Boing!

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