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Byline: Chris Lepkowski

IT was Sod's Law that Albion's victory over Southampton should have the 'Made in Africa' stamp going right through it.

Two goals scored by Nigerian Peter Odemwingie and a supreme midfield display by Congolese Youssouf Mulumbu.

Sod's Law because straight after the game Odemwingie confirmed what many have been fearing for a while - he DOES intend playing in the African Cup of Nations early in 2013. Mind you, that's assuming he's called up.

DID KNOW? Mulumbu will be joining him as part of the DR Congo squad. The Baggies best crossing in the Premier this campaign, per cent team-Their importance was highlighted against a pitiful Saints side.

Odemwingie, apart from scoring, used his intelligence to create space and pockets for the likes of Mulumbu and Billy Jones to dart into and exploit.

He did this to great effect at Molineux with Steven Reid and he did it again on Monday. Poor Danny Fox, the Southampton left-back, was put out of his misery long before the end. The harrassed former Walsall man could find no way to deal with Odemwingie and Jones.

And Odemwingie can score goals. In case anyone forgot, or was casting doubt over his worth to Albion's squad, the ex-Lokomotiv man remains one of the club's most irreplacable assets. How many other players could Albion pick up for such a low price for such returns? Not many.

Mulumbu was dynamic. A forward-moving, contributing force to Albion's attacking prowess on the night. Claudio Yacob is happy to sit, Mulumbu is content to venture forward.

It works. But Albion shouldn't fear the loss of these two players too much.

This is no 2006, when the tournament clipped Albion's spirit and prospects. Back then the Baggies lost Diomansy Kamara and Kanu to the same competition.

Albion wilted, took YOU a bow to the audience and drew the curtains on their Premier League show.

have the accuracy League with 30 a Not so this time.

For when the tournament kicks off in South Africa in January, Albion boss Steve Clarke will be inconvenienced but it certainly shouldn't harm the club's prospects for this season. Both do specific jobs but, equally, there are replacements.

James Morrison has proved he can fill in for Mulumbu as a player bursting forward from a deeper position. And if he can't then Graham Dorrans certainly can.

Up front, Shane Long has been one of Albion's best performers of the season, while Romelu Lukaku can only gain finesse with each game. Marc-Antoine Fortune offers experience and Markus Rosenberg is yet to adjust to the top flight. He will.

DID YOU a KNOW? The Baggies have the best crossing accuracy in the Premier League this campaign, with 30 per cent finding a team-mate.


Peter Odemwingie is off to the African Cup of Nations.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 9, 2012
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