After experiencing a woeful 2020/21 campaign which culminated in relegation from the Premier League, West Bromwich Albion have managed to make a positive start to the new term.
Currently second in the Championship standings, the Baggies have immediately adjusted to Valerien Ismael’s style of play which relies heavily on pressing in the final third of the pitch.
Yet to suffer defeat in the second-tier, West Brom will fancy their chances of causing a cup shock tonight when they face Arsenal at The Hawthorns.
Mikel Arteta’s side may be lacking in confidence heading into this particular clash after falling to back-to-back defeats in the Premier League at the hands of Brentford and Chelsea.
Whilst West Brom’s primary focus this season is to seal an immediate return to the top-flight, an encouraging display against the Gunners in the League Cup this evening could provide them with some added momentum heading into their upcoming Championship clashes with Peterborough United and Millwall.
One of the players who could be in line to feature for the Baggies in this fixture is Sam Johnstone.
A report from The Athletic earlier this month revealed that the Baggies had entered talks with Johnstone over a new deal.
Making reference to the keeper’s current situation, Ismael has admitted that West Brom are still discussing fresh terms with Johnstone as they try to convince him to commit his future to the club.
Speaking to the Express & Star ahead of tonight’s meeting with Arsenal about the 28-year-old, the Baggies boss said: “Progress is a big word but we keep talking.
“I don’t think we can get a result quickly, but at least all the parties are talking.
“We have a good feeling, but we need to be patient on that.”
GIVEMESPORT’s Joshua Cole says…
Although West Brom are seemingly in no rush to reach an agreement with Johnstone, they will be hoping to convince the shot-stopper to extend his stay as he is unquestionably one of their most important players.
After making the most saves in the Premier League last season (166), the England international has managed to help his side seal maximum points in each of their last three fixtures by featuring in these particular clashes.
Providing that Johnstone is able to maintain his consistency at this level in the coming months, there is no reason why West Brom cannot launch a sustained bid for promotion in the Championship.
By persuading the keeper to be a part of his long-term vision for the club, Ismael could endear himself to the club’s supporters who will be desperate to see their side succeed this season.
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