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Odemwingie off the mark as Albion beat Sunderland

Aug 23rd, 2010

Albion's new 2.5 Million pound striker Peter Odemwingie capped an impressive debut with an 81st minute strike against Sunderland on Saturday.

Albion must have targeted this game as an almost 'must win' even this early in the season due to the steep challenge awaiting them in the form of tough away trips Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Roberto DiMatteo made two changes to the team that were drubbed 6-0 by Chelsea the week before with Jonas Olsson coming in for Pablo Ibanez and Peter Odemwingie being granted a start in the lone striking role despite only being given clearance to play at around 9pm on friday night and having only trained once with his team mates.

Roman Bednar could understandably feel hard done by being dropped to the bench to be replaced by a newbie that has only trained with the team briefly but once the game kicked off the quality of his replacement was apparent to all.

The opening exchanges of the game took place in the middle third of the pitch with neither keeper being tested.

This changed when Chris Brunt put a superbly weighted pass though the sunderland defence which Odemwingie latched on to. The new signing failed to hit the target though pulling the shot wide of the left hand post.
The potential was there to see for the baggies fans though, Odemwingie is very quick and reads the game well. He is also full of running and chases down defenders well. Without being disrespectful to Ishmael Miller and Roman Bednar, Odemwingie could be the spark that the team has been lacking up front for some time now.

Albion took control for the majority of the first half with James Morrison and Cech going close and Chris Brunt seeing a scissor kick fly just over the bar.

Jerome Thomas also provided a good outlet down the left and continued his impressive form the Chelsea game before limping off at half time with an ankle injury.

Sunderland were not without their chances however and threatened several times from free kicks on the edge of the area without really testing Scott Carson.

Albion were back on the front foot again in the second half with Giles Barnes (on for the Injured Thomas) looking very dangerous down the left wing.
Barnes is beginning to look like the player that was so highly rated during Derby County's promotion season and if he can remain fit, will no doubt be a big big asset for the Albion this season.

The second half was much more of an open affair and Sunderland did apply spells of meaningful pressure on Carson's goal. Scott Carson pulled off a top-drawer save to tip over a dipping top corner bound Kieron Richardson effort with 15 minutes to go.

Albion held firm however and with just under 10 minutes left on the clock, Albion made the breakthrough.

James Morrison found a pocket of space 15 yards into the Sunderland half and slid a beautiful pass in to Peter Odemwingie who had in turn created space for himself in between the Sunderland centre halves. His first touch was superb and the finish, a deliberate toe poke low and to the left of Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet was sublime. If he can reproduce this performance throughout the rest of the season then the Albion attack will be in very good hands.

Roberto DiMatteo made two changes to sure up the albion defence in anticipation of a Sunderland onslaught in search of an equaliser by bringing on Steven Reid for Graham Dorrans and Nicky Shorey to make his Baggies debut in place of Youseff Mulumbu.

Chris Brunt nearly broke the cross bar with a 25-yard left foot pile driver that really did deserve better.

Albion successfully weathered the remaining storm to get their first win and points on the board this season.

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Related article tags: Match report Peter Odemwingie

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