3 tweaks Valerien Ismael could make in an attempt to change West Brom’s fortunes | OneFootball
3 tweaks Valerien Ismael could make in an attempt to change West Brom’s fortunes
Football League World
West Bromwich Albion sit third in the Championship but it’s fair to say that not all fans are pleased with the way things are going at the Baggies so far this season.
Albion trail the top two of Fulham and AFC Bournemouth by eight points and they’re on a run of four games without a victory – three of those being draws with the latest coming on Friday night against Nottingham Forest.
Their progress has stalled and the performances have been somewhat underwhelming which has led to supporter frustration, but despite having some quality players in the squad the depth is somewhat lacking, meaning mass changes can’t be made.
Some things clearly need to be tweaked though – let’s look at three things that could be altered in the coming weeks to arrest the slide.
Ever since he arrived in England at Barnsley, Ismael has played in one way and that’s a 5-2-3 or 3-4-3 formation.
Quiz: 30 questions about West Brom’s best strikers from the last 5 years – Can you score 30/30?
He likes a physical outlet in the centre of the front three like he had with Daryl Dike at the Tykes but that method isn’t really working for West Brom, with Jordan Hugill failing to impress after signing on loan from Norwich.
A formation change where the onus isn’t on a striker to hold the ball up could be the way forward – perhaps a 4-2-3-1 could be used when everyone is fit and available with Alex Mowatt given more of a freedom to attack in the ’10’ role.
It’s worth considering after how results have been going but Ismael does seem to be very stubborn in his thinking.
Gardner-Hickman on the wing?
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This season has saw the brief emergence of Taylor Gardner-Hickman from the development squad to the first-team after he made his debut in the EFL Cup against Arsenal.
That was as a right-winger and at the start of November he made his first Championship appearance as he started in the 1-0 win over Hull at wing-back and then again against Huddersfield a few weeks later.
The 19-year-old played a lot of his under-23’s football last season as a winger though and if Ismael is wanting to stick with Darnell Furlong at right-back then Gardner-Hickman could be given a chance in-front of him further forward, with Karlan Grant, Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson battling it out for the striker and left-wing spots.
Introduce Reyes Cleary
One name from the youth team is getting Baggies fans very excited recently and that is Reyes Cleary.
The 17-year-old has been in sensational form for the under-18’s with 10 goals in six Premier League matches, whilst also stepping up to the under-23’s with three goals in seven outings and scoring a brace in the Premier League cup against Arsenal.
With West Brom’s senior striking options extremely thin on the ground – why not give Cleary a go? If you’re good enough you’re old enough and he certainly has to be giving Ismael something to think about.
Indeed Cleary Bayern Munich and other clubs lurking.