In what seemed like the strangest sacking of recent times, West Brom dispensed with the services of head coach Slaven Bilic on Wednesday. The decision may have been more understandable if the Baggies hadn’t just picked up a 1-1 draw at Manchester City. However, the decision to fire the Croatian was likely weeks in the making. The appointment of former West Ham and Everton boss Sam Allardyce is highly unsurprising one too.
No better survival expert than Big Sam
When it comes to survival in the Premier League, there are few better head coaches to bring in than Big Sam Allardyce. Only Bear Grylls can compete with Allardyce when it comes to survival. The veteran boss is almost a one-man guarantee of top-flight relegation avoidance. He has never suffered relegation in his managerial career.
Allardyce has done a firefighting job at Bolton, Blackburn, West Ham, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Everton. He has come into teams with poor form and sometimes resources and turns things around. The experienced boss usually achieves the aims of the club, even if the team usually doesn’t produce the best football. His style is certainly not for everybody, but it is usually highly effective, that is why he keeps getting Premier League jobs.
Allardyce may be what West Brom needs
It is not a major surprise that West Brom are 19th place in the Premier League table. The Baggies started the season as one of the favourites for relegation to the Championship. They have made pretty much the start that many expected them to, as the team from the Midlands have struggled for results in the English top-flight.
The team from the Midlands did heavily invest in the squad after winning promotion and the players have looked Championship so far this season. The biggest concern has been the number of goals the Baggies have concerned, as no team has conceded more than West Brom’s 26 goals this season in the top-flight.
One of Allardyce’s main strengths is getting teams organised and in better shape defensively. He very much builds his team from the back and does not care what anybody thinks about his style of play. He will no doubt go into the club and within a few games, West Brom will much tougher to beat. They have not been great at the other end of the field either, but the defensive solidity will come first.
Fewer teams involved in the relegation battle
The West Brom board may well have acted at the right time, even though it is never good to see a head coach lose his job. The Baggies are only two points from safety and with a few wins, they could easily move out of the relegation zone.
The biggest problem for Allardyce and his team could be that there may be fewer teams involved in the fight for survival. There is an eight-point gap between 14th place Newcastle and Burnley who occupy 18th place in the table. Judging by that gap fewer teams will be involved in the fight for survival. Arsenal are currently 15th place in the table and surely will have enough quality to move out of the bottom half. That just leaves the bottom five fighting it out to avoid the drop.
Sam Allardyce has a big task on his hands to save the Baggies from the drop. However, his record tells you to never write him off when it comes to relegation battles.
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Will Sam Allardyce keep West Brom in the Premier League?