West Bromwich Albion 0 - Leeds United 5
As bad as it gets. A crushing nadir.
From the moment Gibbs exited the warmup it all went wrong.
The same team other than Peltier was a big ask. I thought Gibbs wouldn’t make it and I thought Phillips would struggle too - both having such histories of strains.
It was fairly bad from the off - we seemed to be playing with at least one player up front but the long pass was gobbled up by Leeds and with both wingers so deep when they did get the ball there was nowhere to go.
I’d say the calamity first was 70% Sawyers over hitting a no look pass backwards, and 30% Johnstone getting too far wide - any slip would’ve given them a tap in anyway.
Although that shook us it wasn’t too bad... until the second went in. Leeds, as they did all night passed it slickly and were always gambling on the run. Another attack wave was blocked and with everyone apart from Grant behind the ball and doing their best to track, their fullback hammered the ball into the far corner from 20 yards evading all the covering bodies. We don’t have a striker who can hit those let alone a fullback.
And that’s where we fell to pieces. Leeds walked through us without challenge time and again and it could’ve been more. When we did get the ball we gave it away cheaply.
But for a lightweight bench they could all have all been subbed. As it was only Phillips made way for Ivanovic as we went what looked 5-3-2.
Leeds eased off and we had a bit more as it opened up but Diangana couldn’t even make the most of a gift from their keeper 10 yards out.
Their 5th was a great strike but it was so easy for them to stride through our half and Ivanovic was cut inside so easily - his old legs unable to react.
Allardyce didn’t look happy. Honestly, but for whiskers and a lack of intensity Liverpool could’ve done the same to us first half.
I’m not blaming Allardyce for anything in terms of personnel or tactics. The squad isn’t good enough, the imbalance of it is a collective failure of the club and Bilic. The style is what he always brings and is proven, but you cannot make these players play that way so he has to be backed to go and get 3 or 4 for the first eleven if we are to judge him fairly and that might well mean selling 2 or 3 of the current starters if we can find any buyers.
Grim. A collection of players struggling to transition to a style that they’re totally ill suited for. And yes we don’t look fit and there is a total dearth of characters and bottle.
I thought Leeds were brilliant and were rewarded for their relentless running, bravery and movement. Notice how every attack ended with a rapid cross or shot too. Envious.
Championship Squad 0 v Leeds 5
In little over 2 years we have gone from an established Premier League Club with players such as Chadli, Jonny Evans, JRod, Foster, Yacob, Rondon, Hegazi, Dawson, Brunt and Morrison. To tonight's utter embarrassment, a 5 nil home defeat, and to a only just promoted Club.
Why has the Club declined so much, so quickly?
I put it down to 5 critical decisions that the Management/Owners of the Club have got so wrong?
Wrong Decision 1... The appointment of Alan Pardew. And then the subsequent failure to sack him after the Barcelona trip. The squad under Darren Moore proved it was good enough to stay up if he had been given more games.
Wrong Decision 2... The selling/offloading of all the Premier League standard players over 2 summers after getting relegated which made a huge net profit on transfers by the way. Even under Peace we did not disinvest in players to this extent when getting relegated.
Wrong Decision 3... Not investing sufficiently after getting promoted in Premier League experienced/standard players. The squad was only just about good enough to get promoted from the Championship, and in a low quality season.
Wrong Decision 4... Off loading Hegazi, and after the transfer deadline. The most experienced and best defender we have. Since then we have leaked goals in a frightening fashion.
Wrong decision 5... Sacking Bilic. He was no genius but the players wanted to play for him. To blame him for the state we are in is such a completely wrong diagnosis I fear it was an excuse, used by Lai and Dowling, to deflect from their own abject failings.
I always feared this promoted squad was far too weak but hoped Lai and Dowling would realise this, and invest to stay up. This turned out to be a forlorn hope. Now I only hope now we can get more than Derby's record low 11 points in a season.
Well that's as embarrassing as it gets. I can accept that the players aren't good enough technically but not being fit enough is not acceptable. Leeds completely exposed our lack of pace and fitness. Sawyers is getting a lot of stick for the OG but I have some sympathy for him, every time he gets the ball there is no movement forward. Our forward players are none existent. People moan about the defending and the numbers aren't good but it's inevitable we are going to ship goals when we are defending for 75% of the game.
We probably need to sign 4 attacking players in the window and even then I think we're still unlikely to stay up. Pinning all our hopes on a big Sam miracle is a fantasy. The Liverpool game was a freak result "they happen" but the game has moved on and we as a club haven't. Pulis, Pardew, Allardyce we never learn. I would like to see someone like Eddie Howe given 3 seasons to build a side (like Leeds have had to do) but it's not going to happen in my lifetime. I didn't think 2020 could get much worse.
Is this as bad as it gets? From heroes to zeroes? No wonder Big Sam is calling for a break in the season - he must be wondering just what he and Little Sam have got themselves involved in. We could argue that we had some bad luck, but you make your luck, and the team is almost incapable of making anything at the moment. This is a team that would struggle in the Championship - tired old legs, lack of creativity, lack of defensive organisation. We need a miracle in the transfer window - and we can't expect the owners to spend big. Only Johnstone, Gallagher and Pereira are of the quality needed. 20 points looks like it will be a challenge. Tough times to be a Baggie...
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