The Athletic’s Steve Madeley has revealed the two starting line-ups that have been used most often by West Brom in the Premier League.
The Baggies spent eight uninterrupted seasons in the top-flight between 2010 and 2018 and it is no surprise to hear that the two XIs selected more often than any other came from this era.
Selected five times each, they featured in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons respectively and contain many of the same players.
The first was a 4-2-3-1 formation of: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom; Yacob, Fletcher; Phillips, Morrison, Brunt; Rondon. The second, a 4-4-1-1 formation comprising of: Foster; Nyom, Dawson, Hegazi, Gibbs; Phillips, Livermore, Brunt, McClean; Rodriguez; Rondon.
Both line-ups came during the Tony Pulis era and Madeley believes that while a number of the players are loved by Baggies fans, there is little nostalgia for his style of play.
“There are names in these line-ups that West Bromwich Albion fans will revere forever — Ben Foster, Gareth McAuley, James Morrison and Chris Brunt,” he wrote (via The Athletic).
“But both of these teams are associated with another name that Hawthorns regulars will never love — Tony Pulis. The Welshman is respected among the Albion fanbase for keeping the club in the Premier League for three seasons but respect will never be mistaken for affection.”
At their best, this current West Brom side are more exhilarating to watch, but these were certainly well-drilled Baggies sides that picked up a number of scalps against some of the Premier League’s top sides.
Of course, the 2017-18 season is best associated with the debacle that followed the appointment of Alan Pardew, and much of this squad broke up shortly after relegation back to the Championship.
However, there are players from these sides that could add plenty to the current squad, especially in defence. Fans were disappointed to see Ahmed Hegazi depart over the summer, while even into his late 30s Gareth McAuley remained a remarkably consistent performer.
While the Baggies now possess more flair in the shape of Matheus Pereira, Filip Krovinovic and Grady Diangana, a powerful striker capable of holding the ball up and bringing his teammates into play like Salomon Rondon could also add a valuable skill that is missing from this current side.
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