West Bromwich Albion 0 - Aston Villa 3

Date: Sunday 20th December 2020 Live on BT SportBehind Closed Doors
Competition: Premier League
Johnstone 6.8, Furlong 4.7, Ajayi 5.5, O'Shea 5.6, Gibbs 5.0, Sawyers 3.4, Phillips 4.9 (Austin, 77 3.6), Livermore 2.7, Gallagher 6.0, Diangana 4.7 (Ivanovic, 78 3.4), Grant 3.1 (Robinson, 83 4.6)
Unused subs: Button, Grosicki, Krovinovic, Peltier, Kipré, Edwards
Sent off: Livermore (36, Serious foul play)
Manager: Sam Allardyce 3.5
Martinez, Cash, Hause, Mings, Targett, McGinn, Luiz, Traore, Grealish, El Ghazi, Watkins
Unused subs: Steer, Taylor, Hourihane, Nakamba, Engels, Guilbert, Elmohamady, Davis, Ramsey
Scorers: El Ghazi (5, 88 pen), Traore (84)
Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire) 3.8
Attendance: 0
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 18

Brendan Clegg:

Well that all felt a bit pointless and almost secondary to VAR which stole the show.

  • Has anyone ever seen a keeper handle the ball outside of the box and not at least get a booking?
  • How was Livermore’s a red but Hause’s a yellow? (Both were yellow for me)
  • How was Watkins offside?

I even thought the penalty was ropey.

Not much to say about the match.

We looked like a load of tippy tappy footballers playing king ball for the first 30, defended quite well for the next 50 and then fell to pieces when we gambled to score in the last 10.

The goal after 5 was pathetic. Block the cross. Track the man. As good as SJ has been his massive Achilles Heel is balls like that on his 6 yard line. Come and get it and clear out anyone in your way. We need him to learn that, it’s cost us so many crucial goals already.

Can’t really blame Allardyce for his lineup or subs because he’ll need a few games to work out Grant is miles off it and Austin is finished, but we don’t really have a forward who can play his way. Until Gallagher dropped deep when Livermore was sent off our system and style made him anonymous to our cost, and Diangana physically couldn’t cope with what was being asked of him - at one point having a ball smashed at him in his face.

Not great but I couldn’t ever really envisage a bounce when the styles are so different. Oh Slav, why couldn’t you have been just a bit more pragmatic? Just played 4-5-1 and stayed in games because everything else was there. Style of play, passion, desire, honesty, attracting players, giving youth a chance, improving individuals. And now we’re left with an absent owner, a wideboy director of football with an ego even wider, an inexperienced and woefully under qualified CEO and a head coach whose own enormous ego and arrogance is the last vessel available for us to board that might still sail us away from the choppy waters that threaten our existence let alone premier league survival I’d happily live without.

Ah well. It’s not like we have anything else to worry about.

  • SJ - 6 Good stops but Allardyce will hate that first goal and probably the 2nd.
  • Furlong - 4 Ran a lot but had so few options.
  • Ajayi - 6 I’m going to ignore the last 10 and say he did a lot of good work.
  • O’Shea - 6 Ditto, once again gave every fibre of his being.
  • Gibbs - 5 One of our more comfortable players but can’t burst forward for risk of injury.
  • Sawyers - 4 Did okay in spells but is too old to become aggressive enough for this league now.
  • Phillips - 6 I thought he competed again but struggled with the style. Probably our best attacking player.
  • Gallagher - 6 Couldn’t get into it until he had to cover Livermore’s role and was then our best player.
  • Livermore - 3 Was doing better than most. Silly tackle but he has trying to hook the ball and actually won it. Harsh red.
  • Diagana - 4 Fear for him with this coach and the style we’ll play. Has to deliver when he makes half a yard.
  • Grant - 3 Has to come out of the team.
  • Austin - Offers absolutely nothing. Can’t score in the under 23s. A mystery.
  • Ivanovic - only introduced to change system but we collapsed when he came on.
  • Robinson - Given no time but it won’t work anyway if we just lump it at him.

Ancient Baggie:

I think we were beaten by the better side tonight but our performance was abysmal. Even 11 v 11 we were second best. I think Livermore actually scooped the ball and barely touched Grealish but in this day and age it was always likely to get a red. The tackle on Diangana was far more damaging but of course that's not going to be looked at because it's WBA. After that it was just damage limitation.

I actually don't think our defence is the major problem, yes we've shipped a lot of goals but we've played a lot of minutes with 10 men. We can't keep the ball in the opponents half and have no goal threat consequently we are always defending.

We've had Pulis, Pardew now Allardyce all totally uninspiring. It's going to be a long season and looking at big Sam's game plan and substitutions I don't expect it to be very entertaining.