Then there is the part of me who wants to look at it to try and find some positives. It is hard, taken in isolation, this was a shocker, in the context of the season it was one bad performance out of six and if we get something from the next game, this will be forgotten, this is the beauty of football, potential redemption is never too far away.
Sean Dyche in his after match comments said: “We've seen results like this in the Premier League and it's happened to us and it's important we grow and learn from it very very quickly." People will argue that Dyche got his tactics wrong, personnel wrong and that we did not do enough business in the summer. That the earth is flat and the moon is made from green cheese. There is always a negative reaction to a defeat, reading a message board magnifies those feelings even more so, it was one game, we are still only one win away from safety.
|I'd expected Barnes to start|
The spine of our team that got us out of the championship, contained Ings and Vokes, 47 goals between them, behind them Jones and Marney, who provided the craft and energy and the heartbeat of the team, to lose any of those players weakens the team, to lose all four leaves you with a performance like today.
A midfield five that contained four wingers and a right back/centre back that can play in midfield. A big centre forward who was left to work on his own with little support from the midfield. Poor distribution going forward from the defence, anonymous performances from one or two individuals, poor defending from set pieces and the fact that West Brom actually did play well.
West Brom had 63% possession with 20 shots on target, aside from the first twenty five minutes, they played most of the game in our half, they had options going forward, width, pace, for a team that had played mid- week, they looked full of energy. Their two first half goals came after long sustained periods of pressure and both came after a succession of corners. The first scored by pre- season Burnley target Craig Dawson, the second by Berahino from close range.
Changes were inevitable at half time, Barnes and Chalobah on for Wallace and Reid. When Barnes was brought on against Sunderland we looked more of a threat and I had expected Barnes to start today with Jutkiewicz. Chalobah was booked for a rash challenge and then West Brom scored their third. Game over. After going three down we started to play and had three or four half chances, it was too little too late. We did look a threat and Chalobah and Barnes and the fact we went four- four- two did make a difference and for a fifteen minute spell we did ok. The difference being that a good fifteen minute spell and decent start to the game count for nothing in this league, it has to be a complete performance from first to last, it wasn’t and West Brom’s fourth just rubbed our noses in it.
Today the negatives far outweigh the positives, however Chalobah didn’t look overawed, the team has also showed in the previous games that we can compete at this level, today wasn’t one of those days and I have Berahino in my fantasy football team. In the world of fantasy football Vokes, Ings, Marney and Jones would all be fit and we could give it a good go, the reality of the Premier league is that if you do not have your best team out and you do not compete, you get days like these.