West Bromwich Albion 0 - Derby County 0
180 minutes over two games of absolute awful football. In fact it’s gone from heart attack football to zero football.
Every team playing us is going to do the same now. We’ve been sussed. Playing long ball after long ball against seasoned championship centre backs is naive and I can’t believe the manager has zero plan B.
We could have outplayed a really poor Derby side tonight, but we decided to play zero football against a team that had nothing to offer and they gained a point.
All we had to do tonight was keep the ball on the ground and we would have created lots of chances against the slowest and oldest centre backs in the league. Same last Saturday.
We’re better than this and based on the last 180 minutes it’s got a smell of being as tedious as Pulisball.
Rant over... hoping for better at the weekend.
Well that was a game of two halves and whilst the result wasn’t what we wanted there was a glimmer of hope that we might have a plan b and a bit of variety in our locker.
Interesting lineup choices with Robinson and Reach coming in. Not much to disagree with but I’d probably have benched Grant and gone with Hugill or Phillips.
Unfortunately for us we picked up from where we left off against Millwall. Derby didn’t bother trying to play out or take short throws so there was literally nothing for us to press against, and we continued the hopeless, aimless long ball punts or overly rushed hooks and percentage plays. I’m not quite sure how you’re supposed to judge your forward line when you do that and, given that he tried a few times to bring it down and have a go I thought it might be Diangana who would get hooked again.
It spoke volumes that our best passing move of the half came direct from a corner routine, and we carved them open with Ajayi really needing to do better at the back post but hitting a defender on the line.
Why not try it in open play?
Well in fairness that’s exactly what we did in the second half for maybe the first time this season. Hugill and Phillips came on which I thought was overkill and harsh on Robinson - I’d have given him another 15 minutes.
And then whilst the passing wasn’t always crisp or flowing (you can’t just turn that on, you have to work at it), Hugill did decent job of linking okay with being a threat and we did at least try a more measured approach. There were still frustrating unnecessary hoofs but in the main we worked the ball well and, being honest, should’ve scored 2 or 3. We lacked a quality finisher and we know that was what we needed in the window, but the chances created and missed or were well saved from Furlong, Phillips and Diangana really were good enough to put the game to bed and Johnstone didn’t have a save to make.
Had we played the whole game against Millwall and the first half tonight as we did in the second, perhaps with personnel tweaks, I think we’d probably have got 6 points.
So... disappointing but not disastrous and given the bargain basement window shopping, we can’t complain much about the team or coaches, and just have to regret our absent owner didn’t make a more sensible investment in a proven goalscorer.
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