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West Brom must start spending

West Brom FanZoner Craig Punfield says the club must make more signings in the transfer window if they are to stay out of trouble this season.

Last Updated: 18/08/13 at 15:46 Post Comment

Nicolas Anelka: Failed to make an impact on the team

Nicolas Anelka: Failed to make an impact on the team

We waited 90 days, for that? The 1-0 home loss to Southampton for the first game of the season has confirmed what we already knew about West Brom. We need options in wide positions and investment from our chairman Jeremy Peace to fund the signings.

I was at The Hawthorns for the match and in many senses it didn't feel like a first game of the season.

We only had one new face on show in the starting XI with Nicolas Anelka starting and the team seemed stale, lacklustre and lacking ideas. There was a seeming hangover from the record breaking campaign last season around the ground and on the pitch.

This is easy to say after your side have lost, but when I saw we were deploying a 4-4-2 formation to get the season underway, I felt uneasy.

Whenever we try that style of play it never seems to come off, very few sides play that way now, allowing the opposition to simply find gaps in our midfield to exploit. For me, 4-2-3-1 is the best way for us to play.

James Morrison and Graham Dorrans were given the duties of playing in the wide position and were largely ineffective, so much so that Morrison was later brought into the middle of the pitch to try and get more of an influence in the game.

But why did two players that are more effective in the engine room of the team have to be spread across a midfield four? Because we have no natural wide men who can adopt those positions on the flanks.

Even when things were going well last season we had very few natural wide options and had to play strikers in those areas, putting square pegs into round holes.

Going back to Saturday's disappointment and the lack of ideas we had. The amount of times Jonas Olsson would hit a high, hopeless ball up to Shane Long, only for the Irishman to fail to get to it, you would have thought we had given Tony Pulis a quick way back into management.

We were so predictable that it came as no surprise to see our only effort on target come in the 92nd minute, and that was from right-back Billy Jones.

New signing Anelka failed to make as big an impact as we would have hoped, but he didn't get the service to show what he can do.

I would imagine Steve Clarke will now be banging down Mr. Peace's door with a placard campaigning for some money to improve the squad with two weeks of the transfer window left.

You can only get so far by snatching free agents and loan signings to join before you start to fall behind the clubs around you.

Southampton, Norwich, Sunderland and Swansea, the clubs we should be on a level to have all spent £20million or more this summer on improving their squads.

This isn't me saying we have to remortgage The Hawthorns and splash the cash everywhere, that doesn't always work, just look at Queens Park Rangers.

And over the last couple of season, bargain buys and smart loan moves have paid off magnificently.

But, for me, the time has come to find some quality players that can take us to the next level, or at least keep pace with the four clubs I previously mentioned, because, for me, if we don't invest before September 2 we will finish below clubs we once thought we were on a level with and instead be scrapping for our Premier League lives.

This is no knee-jerk reaction to the first loss of the season, more saying look at our form from January onwards and look at how many points were gained by heroics from Romelu Lukaku and even Peter Odemwingie, remember it was the man from Nigeria who scored the two goals to beat the Saints 2-0 at home last time round.

I looked at the team that played on Saturday, and it has not improved from last season, we have lost firepower, I fail to see how we will replace Lukaku's 17 goals.

Chairman, you have two weeks and a lot more cash to help support a manager who got your club to eighth last season than you are letting on...

By Craig Punfield, FanZone's West Brom blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @Punnerss - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!

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