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Steve Freeth on West Brom's woes following Carlos Corberan appointment

We’re a pessimistic bunch, us Albion fans - definitely a glass half empty breed. 

But at the beginning of the season, I felt confident that the Baggies would be challenging for a return to the Premier League. 

Why? Well, they’d just signed two proven quality Championship players in John Swift and Jed Wallace, plus Okay Yokuslu was returning after an impressive loan spell.

Admittedly, I had reservations about Steve Bruce, but I looked at the division with no Fulham or Bournemouth and thought the 11/4 for promotion could be a bit of value. I certainly wasn’t even thinking about the 40/1 for relegation.

Well, as I’m typing this, the Albion now sit in the bottom three after losing in injury time at Millwall and just one win in 11 with some fans thinking about the drop. After the traders ran the ratings model a number of times, the prices on promotion and relegation are exactly the same at 10/1 and I’m sure that will raise a debate amongst fans.

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Having seen a lot of the Championship this season, it is one lacking in quality and it’s a section that’s ripe for a team to string together five or six wins to take them up the table. Will that be West Brom? Maybe not, but with the appointment of Carlos Corberan, I’m hopeful of a change of form and hopefully mentality in a squad clearly lacking in confidence right now and some might say quality – something I didn’t see at the start of the campaign.

So, what sort of squad will Corberan inherit? One that is suited to his style of play? I’m looking through the squad and I don’t see one primed for his ‘Murderball-like’ training sessions! It may take time to implement his tactics to a squad which is probably feeling sorry for itself right now.

It can be a lonely job being a goalkeeper sometimes and David Button had big gloves to fill when Sam Johnstone packed his bags, but as Ismaila Sarr’s long range effort sailed over his head in front of the TV cameras in the first home game of the season against Watford, it was the only the start. 

To his credit, he made up for it later in the game by saving Sarr’s spot-kick to earn a point but his Goals Prevented xG of -5.8 remains one the worst in the division despite being on the bench for the last five matches. His replacement Alex Palmer is currently on -1.2.

The defence will also need sorting out... I’ve never booed a player in my life, so it was a difficult watch to see Kyle Bartley getting stick in the defeat to Birmingham City last month and his red card at 1-1 at the Den will hardly endear himself to the Albion faithful. 

There has also been scrutiny on both wing-backs/full-backs Darnell Furlong and Conor Townsend with Dara O’Shea’s rise though the Baggies system being a help in the popularity stakes, more than his form on the pitch right now. Semi Ajayi becomes better with every game he doesn’t play.

I’m going to stop there, but you get the gist of the sort of job that whoever comes in will have. 

Albion of course sit pretty in the xG charts. A glance at the ‘Expected Points’ table would see the Baggies at the top.  

‘It’s only a matter of time before they turn it around’ would be a line bandied around by many, but regular Hawthorns watchers will know that falling behind so often means that Albion are often chasing the game.

So, 10/1 for promotion and 10/1 for relegation, and as somebody who is of the ‘half empty’ mentality when it comes to the Albion, I know which side I’ll lean to.

But there's hope that with a new manager in, he can have a Steve Cooper-esque influence on the squad and catapult the Baggies up the table.

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