We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns…
Kevin Phillips has tipped Sam Allardyce to axe Branislav Ivanovic from the West Brom side amid a woeful run of form in the Albion defence.
Since joining the Baggies on a free transfer in September, the 36-year-old former Chelsea defender has failed to prove he’s anywhere near the standard of playing in the Premier League.
Ivanovic started in the 4-0 defeat to Arsenal and also completed 72 minutes in the FA Cup defeat to Blackpool on Saturday, in which Albion conceded twice to the League One club in normal time.
However, Phillips doesn’t see him getting much game-time in the near future, especially if Allardyce is able to bring in a new centre-back before the end of the month.
“It might just be a little bit too much for Ivanovic,” Phillips told West Brom News.
“He’s been an unbelievable player in the Premier League. He’s experienced but I think he’s struggled.
“I’d be very surprised if he plays again for a bit but unless they bring someone in, he might have to or they’ll jiggle it about a bit.”
It would be unfair to heap the blame entirely on Ivanovic because West Brom have also conceded a lot of goals when he’s not been on the pitch too.
However, it is pretty clear now that Slaven Bilic and Luke Dowling were completely wrong to sign Ivanovic in the last transfer window.
Yes, Ivanovic is an experienced Premier League player with numerous titles and hundreds of appearances in England’s top-flight.
But has he ever played for a team that’s struggled at the bottom end of the Premier League? No. Has he ever been involved in a relegation battle? No. Has he ever played in a team with such a weak midfield that it concedes chances almost every minute? No.
Ahmed Hegazi split opinion among Albion fans but at least he’d been there and done that in regards to being in a relegation battle. There are also other defenders out there who carry the scars of relegations or at least surviving the drop.
Bilic and Dowling knew they needed to add an experienced head to their defence and chose the complete wrong type of experience when doing so.
In other West Brom news, Phillips admits he likes this Premier League player who’s been linked to Albion by Kaveh Solhekol.