Carlos Corberan keeping West Brom players guessing
The team selection from Carlos Corberan against Hull recently showed that no Albion player is 100 per cent safe of a starting place – despite form, writes Lewis Cox.
And I think that is fair game to be honest. I don’t disagree that a good performance should, most of the time, warrant a place in the side.
But with managers, certainly a manager like Corberan, that simply isn’t going to be the case.
If he can seek to gain an advantage by playing player X instead of Y, then he will do.
I am sure he takes into account form, momentum, confidence, but ultimately he wants to pick the player who will give his side the best chance of succeeding.
He has talked about two players in every position and I believe it is for this exact reason, so he has options.
We have seen how he has flipped between a back four and five at times – he did it against Hull.
And I think when it comes to looking at the fact no-one is safe, Nathaniel Chalobah is the perfect example, as well as midfield colleague Alex Mowatt.
He has been excellent recently, but it was Okay Yokuslu and Mowatt who were given the nod against Hull. I thought at half-time in the game it was one-paced in midfield and they were getting over-run, and Chalobah gives you something different to that, someone who can get around the park when he turns it on, Jayson Molumby too.
However, credit to Mowatt and Okay, they turned it around in the second half, used the ball really well and ultimately it turned out to be the correct call as Albion went on to win the game.
But Chalobah was mightily unlucky not to feature from the off because he had been bang in form.
Then, after that, Chalobah is handed perhaps a surprise start at high-flying Southampton, with Mowatt dropping to the bench after a fine second half against the Tigers.
Of course, we all know Mowatt came on at St Mary’s and helped swing the momentum in Albion’s favour.
It does show no-one is safe, but I don’t think that is a bad thing really. Yes, I get rewarding displays, but you want to keep players on their toes and this way does that.
And at the end of the day it is all down to tactics. Albion will have studied Hull and I asked Carlos if he switched to a four at the back to match up Hull.
Corberan explained that he just saw it as the best way to win the game.
He won’t stick with an XI for the sake of it, and the players are starting to know that now.