Sam Allardyce has taken aim at the Premier League for placing the club in a difficult “predicament” regarding fixture scheduling, with West Brom set to play twice in the space of four days.
The Baggies will host Everton at the Hawthorns on Thursday before Steve Bruce’s Newcastle travel to the Midlands for the early fixture on Sunday, providing Allardyce with a selection headache.
Currently sitting in the relegation zone, Albion are nine points from safety, making the game against the Magpies on Sunday crucial if the club harbour survival hopes.
Last month Albion clinched a goalless draw with Burnley, despite having had to play over an hour with just ten men, with Semi Ajayi having been given his marching orders in the 20th minute.
Allardyce believes unnecessary fixture congestion for Burnley caused the Clarets to underperform in the game, and it is a problem he believes could impact West Brom this week. Speaking ahead of the game (via Express and Star), Allardyce said:
“If I don’t rest players on Thursday I will have to rest them on Sunday – that is an absolute fact. We ran Burnley into the ground with 10 men because we didn’t have a game in midweek and they did. That shows you the difference.
“It’s something we have had no help with. We are trying to save ourselves in the Premier League but we have just been hindered by this. I’m having to think about both games not one.
“After Everton – what are we going to look like against Newcastle? What team are we going to pick? Will I be doing the players a disservice by putting them out again after the Thursday night game?
“These are all the things we have to calculate. We don’t want to be calculating them but we have to because we have been put in this predicament.”
Sam’s got a point
It has been extremely difficult for everyone to cope this season, with injuries and fixture congestion often producing unexpected results.
However Allardyce does have the right to complain, with Albion seemingly presented a difficult hand in their quest for top flight survival.
We can only expect so much from these players, but with two difficult yet winnable fixtures in a row, we shouldn’t be forced to choose which one to prioritise.
It does feel as though the decks are stacked against Albion, but we just have to hope that the manager and the players can do their best in the coming weeks.
At the moment, we’d take three points from the next two games, but the reality is, we probably need at least four.
In other West Brom news, Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone currently tops the chart for most saves in Europe’s top five leagues.