As we approach Everton’s second match of the young season, we sat down with West Brom fan Matt Evans for another round of Q&A.
RBM: Tony Pulis is entering his second full season in charge of West Brom. Are you expecting any major strides from the club this season now that they have a stable manager?
Matt: Normally that would be what you expect but things are a little different when Pulis is the manager in question. He has a way of doing things that he has stuck to his whole career and that is unlikely to change now. His style of play will probably see West Brom finish anywhere from 11th to 17th and will result in the same frustrations from the fans that were there last year regarding lack of goals and attacking play.
RBM: The transfer window is still open for a little bit longer. The club has been tied to a few potential signings with Leicester's Jeffrey Schlupp being the latest name. Do you see any new signings happening before the window closes?
Matt: There certainly needs to be a few signings! Albion have had a few deals fall through, Diafra Sakho after he failed a medical and Schlupp after Leicester changed the goal posts regarding the fee, but there does seem to be plenty of other options and deals the club are working. A left back is desperately needed, as is another striker to ease the goal-scoring burden on the over-worked Salomon Rondon. More pace in midfield wouldn’t go amiss either.
RBM: Last season was rather disappointing for Saido Berahino. He had long spells on the bench and was often rumored as wanting to leave the club. He seems to have turned over a new leaf this year and rededicated himself. Does it seem like he's truly dedicated to The Baggies or is he just looking for a payday once his contract runs out?
Matt: Berahino was far from his best in the first game of the season at Crystal Palace but what was noticeable was how hard he worked for the team, something that was missing at times last season. I don’t think he’s been truly dedicated to West Brom ever since the saga surrounding his move to Spurs and the subsequent fall-out with the club. If he doesn’t leave this window, which there is still a chance of, it would be best for both parties for him to knuckle down, focus and start scoring goals again. That will help keep West Brom up and it might re-ignite the interests of bigger clubs for when his contract does run out, instead of having to choose between Crystal Palace and Stoke like he is at the moment.
RBM: West Brom, along with Aston Villa and Wolverhampton, is one of the latest clubs to be bought by a Chinese businessman. How does the fan base feel about the new owner. Do you believe that this will help expand the cub's global footprint?
Matt: On a whole, the fans seem very happy with the new owner. Jeremy Peace has done a fantastic job in finally establishing West Brom as a regular face in the Premier League but in the past few years it has become blatantly clear that the club needed a fresh approach and someone with more resources than Peace to really compete in the Premier League, such is the amount of money in the game these days. Hopefully it will improve and enhance the club’s reputation globally but that probably won’t come until Pulis goes, his style of play isn’t exactly going to win many fans.
RBM: Finally, do you have a prediction for the match?
Matt: I think it’ll be a 1-1 draw, Rondon for Albion and Lukaku normally manages to score whenever he comes back to The Hawthorns so I’ll go with him.
Thanks to Matt for taking the time to answer our questions. COYB!