Nicholas Anelka has chosen to appeal his ban after he was charged by the Football Association over his quenelle gesture during a 3-3 draw against West Ham, in which he scored two goals. However if he does get banned just how much will West Bromwich Albion miss him?
If he is found guilty he is due to serve a minimum of a five game ban, leaving the club with just four recognised strikers, with only one of those having completed a full season in the Premier League.
He may have only scored two league goals but his presence on the pitch lifts the fans and the players. The crowd in the first half against Liverpool was quiet and dull, but when Anelka gets on the ball the expectations lift because everyone knows he is capable of doing something magic with that extra bit of quality he possess. He makes the crowd stand on their feet, excited to see the former Premier League golden boot winner on the ball. His excellence on the ball excites crowds and gets them behind the team because he can do something no one else can on the pitch can.
He also seems to have found his feet in the West Brom side. After training regularly with young striker Saido Berahino the two have formed an impressive partnership when given the chance. They know what each other are going to do before they make the run and complement each other’s game fantastically. The last time they both started together they came back with a goal return of three between them against The Hammers.
Before coming off injured in the first half against Aston Villa he looked a threat and confident on the ball. Now The Baggies have been dragged into a relegation dog fight they will need their impact players to have confidence and not let the pressures off the drop get too them. Anelka is the type of players who can play without these pressures and his experience will be greatly needed as we head towards the ending of the season.
However Anelka will need to perform consistently during the run in if Albion are to avoid the drop, something he has struggled to do in the blue and white stripes of West Brom, either because of injury, lack of form or personal issues away from the football pitch. He has the potential to drag West Brom up the table by himself if he can hit a run of good form and stay injury free.
If Anelka is hit with a hefty ban it will effectively rule him out for the remainder of the season, something which will be a huge loss to the Baggies. Despite the lack of goals his creativity and ability is important for the side and for the fans just to have a player with the calibre of Anelka gracing the pitch at the Hawthorns will give them something to sing about and lift their spirits.