martedì 31 dicembre 2013

Nicolas Anelka's controversial salute overshadowed his performance

West Brom caretaker boss Keith Downing insists striker Nicolas Anelka can still have a big part to play in WBA fight to avoid a drop. Anelka is underinvestigation by the Football Association for the quenelle gesture, described as the "reverse Nazi salute", which he made while celebrating the first of his two goals at Upton Park, where West Bromwich secured a pivotal point from what was a third successive draw under Downing. However, this topic isn’t about his controversial hand gesture. The controversy – which has atcentre French comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala – overshadowed the excellent performance made by Anelka, at his eighth appearance for West Bromwich after a first part of season plagued by illness and injury. Downing gave Anelka his first start since late October in a 3-5-2 formation that already had earned a point at Spurs, pairing Anelka to Saido Berahino up front. Anelka played like an attacking midfielder, just behind Berahino, switching the 3-5-2 in a 3-5-1-1 system. He drifted in and out of the game, dropping deep in midfield rather than make runs in behind the defence and sometimes he left Berahino too isolated. By the way, there was a lot of positives to take from the draw. Anelka was highly effective, scoring two goal from a total of 6 shots, 3 on target. He also managed 4 key passes, averaging a 85% of pass success showing to be able to provide a final pass. Albion are the sixth Premier League club for whom Anelka has bagged goals so he knows how to score. He became only the ninth man in Premier League history to score for six different teams. Obviously, the French lost the speed he had during his youth stints with Arsenal or Real, but he can still be a key part of WBA’s game plan. The greater problem West Brom had this season has been the struggle of the forwards. Stephane Sessegnon, Scott Sinclair, Matej Vydra and Victor Anichebe have disappointed. Maybe West Brom fans are tired of hearing they miss Romelu Lukaku, but this is it. The questions is :can Anelka score enough goals to save West Brom? The amount of cash the club are paying him is very high so Anelka needs to score again or produce nice through balls before they can say the deal worked. Anelka undoubtedly has the chance to play a key role for West Bromwich's next manager. Albion felt in love with Spaniard, Pepe Mel, who wanted to bring his own coaching staff, and have interviewed another, the former Osasuna and Bilbao coach Jose Luis Mendilib, whiel former Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay remains an attractive alternative. Whoever will take the job, he still can count on Anelka.

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