SussexBaggie speaks? different challenges

Last updated : 30 August 2012 By Site Editor

Since my last blog, Albion have played two matches and faced two very different challenges.

On Saturday, we faced Spurs at White Hart Lane and on Tuesday we travelled down to Huish Park to take on Yeovil Town in the second round of the Capital One Cup.

We came away from Spurs with a very impressive and fully deserved 1-1 draw thanks to an injury-time equaliser from James Morrison.

Despite not being at our best during the first half, we were arguably the better side after the break and were very unfortunate to fall behind to a deflected Benoit Assou-Ekotto strike. However, the team spirit within the squad shone through at this point and even before Morrison equalised we had headed efforts from Gareth McAuley and Romelu Lukaku cleared off the line.

Something which has already impressed me about Steve Clarke is how keen he seems to be to ensure we play an attacking style of football wherever possible. With the pace Spurs have in attacking areas, it would have been easy to just sit back and invite pressure onto ourselves on Saturday, but we kept committing players forward and were rewarded for this approach in the closing stages.

Several players stood out at White Hart Lane, with Gareth McAuley, Claudio Yacob, Youssouf Mulumbu, Morrison and Lukaku all impressing.

League cup

Just three days later, we faced a potential banana skin in the Capital One Cup with a trip to League One leaders Yeovil Town.

Thankfully, goals from Chris Brunt, Craig Dawson and two efforts from Shane Long ensured that we progressed into the third round of the competition without playing particularly well.

Clarke made ten changes to the side which had started at Spurs, with only Long remaining in the team. With this in mind, perhaps it was not too surprising that we did not show the quality required to beat Yeovil until the final 20 minutes or so.

Brunt was our only real stand-out player in this game, with his range of passing being a class above that of anyone else on the pitch throughout the 90 minutes and his 35-yard effort to bring the score back to 1-1 being worth the Man of the Match award alone.

Moving on

Next up for Albion is a home game against Everton on Saturday.

Everton have started the season very well, beating Manchester United in their opening game and winning comfortably at Villa Park last weekend to maintain a 100% record after two league games.

We lost twice against Everton last season – 1-0 at The Hawthorns and 2-0 at Goodison Park – and produced two very uneventful performances in the process. However, we beat Everton on the two occasions we played them the previous season, so they are not one of the teams we have had a poor record against for years.

Clarke has got a number of decisions to make when it comes to selecting his team on Saturday. Has Lukaku done enough in his two cameo roles so far to warrant a starting place? Does Odemwingie deserve to walk straight back into the team if he is fit? Did Brunt do enough at Yeovil to make his first league start of the season?

These sorts of questions show just how much strength in depth we have this season, and there are still two days left of the transfer window for us to potentially bring in another defender.

We are going to face another tough test on Saturday, but hopefully we can play well and pick up a positive result!

Boing Boing!

What team would you select against Everton? Have your say here at Baggies Banter