West Bromwich Albion 0 - Manchester City 5

Date: Tuesday 26th January 2021 Live on BT SportBehind Closed Doors
Competition: Premier League
Johnstone 5.1, Furlong 2.8, Ajayi 3.4, O'Shea 3.2, Gibbs 2.5, Snodgrass 3.0 (Phillips, 59 2.4), Livermore 2.9, Sawyers 2.2, Grant 1.7 (Robson-Kanu, 64 2.9), Pereira 3.2, Robinson 3.6 (Bartley, 46 4.5)
Unused subs: Button, Townsend, Gallagher, Ivanovic, Edwards, Peltier
Manager: Sam Allardyce 1.7
Man City:
Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Rúben Dias, Zinchenko, Gündogan (Laporte, 52), Rodri, Bernardo Silva (Gabriel Jesus, 60), Sterling, Mahrez, Foden (Torres, 52)
Unused subs: Steffen, Walker, Mendy, Fernandinho, García, Bernabé
Scorers: Gündogan (6, 30), Cancelo (20), Mahrez (45), Sterling (57)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh 5.2
Attendance: 0
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 15

Mark Koppel:

Demotivated Championship Squad 0 v Man City 5

You cannot polish a turd, but you can make it even smellier!

We just about got promoted with a Championship standard Squad, didn't really add much to it in new players, and then use Bilic as a scapegoat.

But at least Fat Sam will make us harder to beat you think? No he has made the turd worse.

So why has our Club declined so much, so fast, in just 2 and half years?

Again I propose 5 critical mistakes since Lai took over:

  • 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 only if he had been given more than 6 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.

So how do we go forward now?

If you assume we are relegated already (which I do), and Fat Sam will not get 4 new quality players in only 6 days (which I assume he won't), then I think all the following 3 need to leave the Club:

(i) The Dinosaur. He has made the current Turd worse and without his normal £30million budget in January, he is not our future.

(ii) The Cockney Cab Driver. Not up to the job, especially on a limited budget, and stabbed Bilic in the back rather than taking any responsibility himself for the mess we are in.

(iii) Lai or the Real Owner. Dependent on whether the 'Real Owner' is prepared to cut his losses on our reduced Asset and to what extent. In the long term this bit is probably the most important as it also depends on who it sells to. Peace was terrible but ended up selling to someone even more unsuitable.

As far as tonight's player ratings are concerned, it shows how bad you are when Kyle Bartley is your least worst player.

Brendan Clegg:

What to say about that. It’s important to keep perspective when we’re expected to compete with the grotesque and immoral funding of the likes of Manchester City who are in a different universe to us.

But who cares about perspective when what we really want is a good old emotive rant?

Absolutely everything about that was diabolical for all concerned - Board, Management, Players, Football bodies.

Let’s start with our own house.

Bizarre changes and lineup. Grosicki not in the squad and probably about to be offloaded without a replacement like Hegazi, Austin, Krovi and Harper. Gallagher not in the team. Grant in from nowhere. Bartley dropped.

Anyone looking at the lineup knew we’d not a prayer and the players themselves are not daft.

Why replace Bilic with Allardyce if you’re not going to back him early - anyone who knows anything about football can see the squad is incompatible with his methods and would know that before appointing him.

So back him. Early. Give him the type of players he wants and give him a chance to succeed on his own terms. If not, choose someone whose style and methods are closer to what we have, if not for now then for next season. I’m not anti Allardyce but I am anti stupid.

That said, the tactics were useless again - surely a good manager adapts to resources? You cannot play long ball without a target man and a specialist defensive midfielder to participate in the inevitable battles your percentage football will generate. What we are seeing is absolute proof that with this set of players, not matter how much you drill them otherwise, will concede fewer goals by virtue of attempting to keep the ball off the opposition as opposed to gifting it to them constantly and trying to defend for the entire match.

And why play a clearly unfit Grant and a leggy Snodgrass on the wings in a game where you know your wide players will have to run the hardest and play as additional fullbacks. Does anyone not know how City play in this country?

In the opening 5 minutes we put them under pressure and Semi should’ve buried the chance but after that it was totally one way and almost to a man we were dreadful.

Every goal was avoidable but I’m amazed I kept watching after the 2nd. The flag was up for so long I think it’s harsh to say ‘play to the whistle’ and if common sense hadn’t been extinguished from the game the ref would’ve apologised to the City players, chalked the goal off and restarted play. VAR - it’s just awful.

The Mahrez goal also made me rage because it’s exactly what he does, identikit, but the half hearted cover by about 4 players showed that they’d given up.

Thankfully the HT change to get Bartley on and City easing up meant it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been but it was still very bad.

Saturday is actually must-win for survival hopes if you have any. Chances of getting 3 players for the starting 11 by then?

  • SJ - 6 One good save, little chance with others, kicks the ball out of play from goal kicks more than any keeper I can recall.
  • Furlong - 3 Exposed but a genuine lack of cover in front of him.
  • Semi - 3 All over the place.
  • O’Shea - 3 Cruel to play him. Committed but they were too quick for him.
  • Gibbs - 3 Has always been a Rolls Royce we couldn’t keep fit, but it’s now looking like the injuries or injury management have cost him a yard of pace and he’s vulnerable.
  • Snodgrass - 3 Showed a few good touches in possession but nowhere near mobile enough for this one.
  • Livermore- 4 At least made a few tackles.
  • Sawyers - 3 Regressed back after a decent showing at West Ham. All the old habits were there.
  • Grant - 3 Has he ever dribbled past anyone? Genuinely can’t think of a time. Not fit but doesn’t look a player at all.
  • Pereira- 4 Was at least able to hold and pass the ball.
  • Robinson- 4 The usual good movement and selfless running. Can only have been withdrawn to save him for Saturday as he was probably our best player again.
  • Bartley - 4 Gave a bit of leadership to the backline.
  • HRK - 3 A fitness exercise.
  • Phillips - 3 As above but showed a glimmer of hope on the left in that he actually got over the halfway line a couple of times.