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Yacob looks the real deal
I’ll admit I knew very little of Yacob before he put pen to paper with the Baggies, but the move was somewhat welcomed by the supporters following a healthy reputation over in Argentina. And on a free? You can’t complain. But, after featuring in his first ever Premier League match against Liverpool last weekend in which he was awarded the man of the match prize, you can see why he has been capped by the Argentina national team.
According to official West Bromwich Albion stats, Yacob made 83 forward passes in the game and earned a 93.9 per cent pass completion rate. Impressive, eh? Unfortunately I couldn’t attend to watch his performance but he appears a no-nonsense, simple defensive midfielder. The lynchpin in midfield, the playmaker from deep. And if he can sustain his impressive form, then the team can utilise his consistency to build around the centre of the pitch and play a more expansive game.
He seems to have already got the fans on his side, and after the Reds match boss Steve Clarke heaped praise on the 25-year-old saying he has “settled in very well”. Plus, he has been taking English language lessons on a regular basis, too. All these things can only further his development on and off the field.
But some may be surprised just how quickly and efficiently the midfielder has settled into life at The Hawthorns. He had arrived from the Argentina domestic league which is a division I have a very small amount of knowledge on, however I’m aware it plays home to a physical, bustling style. So in that department, one would have been foolish to doubt his ability to adapt.
And for an Argentine, he plays in a unique position. You think of players from South America, in particularly Argentina, as nifty playmakers, tricky wingers and goal-getting strikers. Yacob is none of those, purely a holding midfielder suited to breaking up the play and assisting others. He’s one of the few from his country who consistently play well in that position, hence the 20 under-20 appearances and three national team caps.
But perhaps Yacob’s key attribute is ball retention. He has the capacity to not only intercept his opponent but indeed retain possession too – both in tight areas or expansive offensive spaces. And we all know this is vital to a team physically draining their opposition, and of course when you have the ball it’s much easier to keep up energy levels as appose to chasing it down. But I guess that comes down to his Argentinian culture, and if only England could learn from this aesthetically beautiful philosophy then major tournaments on the international scene could prove more successful.
All in all, Yacob looks a very impressive purchase and is hitting all the right notes as he prepares to once more try and hold down a starting spot in Clarke’s selection for Albion’s trip to White Hart Lane this Saturday. If his league debut was anything to go by, he should have no problem.
Posted by West Brom fan Nathan Carr
Follow Nathan on Twitter at @nathancarr67