Albion faithful still after eighth

Tuesday 7th May 2013 17:00

Steve Clarke: One final push in the Premier League

Steve Clarke: One final push in the Premier League

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West Brom FanZoner Joe Chapman thinks that some of Steve Clarke's recent decisions have been strange but hopes they can secure eighth place.

Well, West Brom certainly know how to get your hopes up, don't they?

After witnessing the demolition job completed at St. Mary's last Saturday, many were justifiably optimistic about the idea of overturning struggling Wigan Athletic (although not as open to inadvertently assisting our own 'noisy neighbours' Aston Villa in their survival bid).

And when Gareth McAuley headed in to restore Albion's lead against the Latics early into the second half on Saturday, it seemed the Baggies were on course to break the fifty point barrier - a real milestone.

But we know all about Roberto Martinez's 'never-say-die' attitude, enabling his team to produce incredible escapes from the jaws of relegation each year, all the while playing attractive football. I'm a huge fan of the Spaniard, his enthusiasm and ingenuity is refreshing, something we don't see enough of in this league we play in. His players reflected that positive attitude at the Hawthorns, coming from behind twice to earn maximum points.

The defending was not good enough for all three goals, something Steve Clarke alluded to in his post-match interview, but something I can't understand was the Scot's choice of substitutions.

Markus Rosenberg enjoyed his best game for Albion on Saturday (and most fruitful, producing his maiden assist for Shane Long's opener) and was awarded with the man of the match. I needn't say any more about his fellow striker, Romelu Lukaku, who also looked dangerous, but who was also subsequently replaced.

I understand that Clarke was trying to gain the extra man in midfield in an attempt to close the game out, but this backfired as once Wigan scored the eventual winner, Albion didn't have a response.

Someone I would have considered was Peter Odemwingie, who shared a fracas with a supporter in the West Stand while warming up. It's a real shame the way Odemwingie's career at the Hawthorns will be viewed. The Nigerian is now almost certain to exit the club in the summer, following talks with the club and the PFA, but unfortunately he only has himself to blame.

He could have been a name in the same bracket as some of Albion's greats, finishing his seasoned time in football at a club where the supporters admired him, but now he will be roundly booed any time he ever appears at the ground in the future.

With trips to Eastlands and Carrow Road in the next six days, Clarke must now pick the players up in their hopes of retaining eighth spot. Funnily enough, we'll be hoping Wigan beat Swansea tonight to enhance our chances further.

Final word though on Gareth McAuley. He received the Player of the Year from fans and team-mates last week and fully deserved it. It's hard to imagine he's 34, but hopefully there's a couple of years at the top level left in him yet.

Let's pull off a shock tonight Baggies, Boing Boing!

By Joe Chapman. Follow him on Twitter at @jcwba16 - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!



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