West Bromwich Albion 1 - Huddersfield Town 2
Fairly straightforward really. We are shit and deserve to go down.
I utterly despaired at the starting lineup. The same underperforming players in the same failing system. I feared the worst.
The first half was terrible because Huddersfield played safety first and we were abysmal. Our back four seemed to be under instructions to play the percentages all the time, Barry and Greg in the centre were outnumbered but also severely lacking in bravery on the ball or legs, out wide we were low on quality with McClean and Phillips was like a ghost. Up front Rondon did his best but Rodriguez was the worst I’ve ever seen him; his touch was less than park standard.
From our only positive move McClean blew a golden chance, firing over with the goal at his mercy and at the other end we got lucky as Huddersfield should’ve scored with their only effort which was blocked on the line by their own player.
We could have hooked 4 players at HT and/or changed the system but Pardew inexplicably did neither.
2nd half we were terrible from kick off and went a goal down through a basic cross and shot where we seemed to offer little attempt to block either. Worse soon followed when Krychowiak proved once again (and for the 2nd game running) that he’s a liability here for the money and a World Cup training camp by swinging aimlessly under no pressure and gifting Huddersfield a second which was taken well.
McClean made way for Brunt despite being one of only 2 players in our front 6 at least trying and fighting, and Brunt typically got us playing before delivering a corner that we scored from. How was he not starting the game?
We still looked ropey until Pardew at least removed the terrible Barry for Livermore and we went 3-5-2 but even after that we didn’t look like scoring. Burke was given 10 mins and although way off it his pace gave Rondon a pass to win a corner from which we probably should’ve equalised but headed over from 4 yards.
Pardew left it way too late to change anything and not for the first time. Quite how Field doesn’t make the team let alone the squad is beyond me, Brunt has to start every game and we have to play 5 in midfield to cope in this league (albeit with the right balance)- arguments that were obvious 20 games ago.
Pardew has to go and we have to build for the championship now. I’d genuinely not bother playing the Pole or Barry again unless we’re desperate with injuries. Whatever anyone says this is Pulis’s relegation but you have to say Pardew has been equally as bad.
What’s frankly in my opinion disgraceful is that the quality of this squad should be nowhere near in trouble but through combinations of terrible selections, terrible tactics and latterly a woeful lack of discipline, respect and organisation has left them rudderless, shot on confidence and looking like they don’t care.
It’s going to be a long road back.
After watching the U23s earlier this week and the first team today I have reached the conclusion that the whole club is in the biggest mess it has been in for years. We have an owner who maybe made money in the past but knows nothing about football and certainly has no allegiance to West Bromwich. We have a weak chairman and board. We have a manager who has achieved very little, was not wanted by most but had pals on the board, and who seems to have no respect or authority from his team - or has even the remotest idea what to do.
Team selection to me was wrong again. Why was Matty Phillips playing? He was awful last week and even worse today. Totally spineless, I lost count of the tackles he pulled out of. As I walked home I binned my happy clapper. I would have liked to have presented it to Gareth Barry- or rather shoved it where the sun doesn't shine as it may have had the effect of waking him up - or maybe not. He was dreadful. But who was any better? Both goals were just schoolboy defending, and why do we find it almost impossible to pass a ball to feet, instead of this endless hoofing and head pinball. We made Huddersfield look good at times - they aren't, but we were worse!
Subs - Brunt was probably one of the few, if not the only player who made any impact, but why didn't he start. I am a McClean fan, but I know many fans aren't but I certainly wouldn't have taken him off first. At least he tries - which sadly some don't. Livermore - why? Ollie Burke - 5 minutes - why? What has Field done wrong?
Great escape - I don't think for a minute that anyone believes we can pull this off, so what do we do next? We have a squad which is ageing, unbalanced, undisciplined and totally unmotivated. Can anyone honestly see us putting in a challenge in the Championship, because sadly I can't.
One good thing - one of my favourites Fitzwater scored today for Walsall - good for him.
I will leave the evaluation of today's game up to Brendan, who does a much better job than I anyway. Instead I will indulge in a little 'armchair analysis', or 'blame game' depending on your point of view.
Pardew (Latin verb 'to lose' = 'perdet' - just sayin') has come in for a lot of criticism, but to be fair, he inherited a can of worms. To take this on he must have either been desperate to get back into management or took a look at a squad full of current and former internationals and thought that with a little tweaking he could turn it around.
However, our problems go right back, ironically, to a period of success - the Hodgson/Ashworth era. Hodgson did such a good job of turning Albion around that he was snapped up by England. Impressed with the work Ashworth had done as technical director of Albion, Hodgson promptly 'stole' him to run England's development programme. Ashworth, within the tight financial constraints JP had imposed, did a brilliant job of bringing in 'no names' and 'rough diamonds' who generally did a great job.
Try as he might, JP was unable to find another Ashworth, so, eager to sell, he went to plan B - hire Tony 'never been relegated' Pulis. One of the 'conditions' Pulis made was to have control over recruitment. Since JP saw Pulis as a selling point, he was willing to abandon his technical director (recruiter) / manager dichotomy. Armed with the control over recruitment, Pulis was able to build a team (more or less) to suit his ultra-defensive style. It worked for a while. Boring as it was, nine men behind the ball made us difficult to beat. And, blessed with Brunts delivery and GMac and Dawson's courage and heading ability from dead balls, we were able to grind out a few wins. But we were one dimensional and if teams could defend our dead balls, we had no answer. Furthermore, desperate defending for 75% of the game was tiring for the players and boring for the fans. After failing to win any of our final ten games last season, the writing was on the wall. We needed to get more creative in open play (faster wing backs and an inventive midfield general to supplement/replace the aging Brunt/Morrison), we needed at least one natural goalscorer and we had to get younger (to compete for 95 minutes). With the benefit of hindsight, we can say that none of these goals has been met.
The introduction of Pardew has not helped, but it's doubtful if even Pep Guardiola would have made much of a difference. The selfish action of four senior players in Spain has totally undermined Pardew and eroded any remaining goodwill with the fans. It's hard to imagine a more depressing scenario for Baggies fans the World over.
I entirely agree with Oshawabaggie and have been saying the same things on Radio WM for the last 6 months.
It was with a great reluctance that I cut short a holiday in the Lake District with the hope of seeing even a glimmer of light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
What a complete and utter waste of time and effort. Having supported the club for over 60 years I can only remember two comparable times, losing to Woking and the tenure of Bobby Gould.
I will continue to support the brand that is WBA but not the current owner, management or a number of players that should be immediately relieved of their livelihood.
I am worried that having created a premier base under Hodgson and Ashworth the club will become a Portsmouth, Wigan or Sunderland and it will be many years before we will see them challenging for promotion from the Championship.
Baggie Tone in Guernsey:
Strange that the only three teams that we have beaten in the league all begin with "B".
Luckily there are a lot more teams in the a Championship that begin with "B" so we might win more games next season.
Come on yoh Baggies.
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