West Bromwich Albion 1 - Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Another game and another result that wasn’t good enough.
When I saw the lineup I thought we’d struggle. I’m really not sure what 3 at the back against a struggling Wolves team in a game we had to win was all about. The only reason I could come up with was that the conditions were going to be terrible so the plan was to win it off set plays.
But after an okay start our 3-6-1 (Pereira often deep enough to take the ball off our back 3) got dominated and we made it to about 30 mins and through some big let offs before Phillips came on for the unfortunate O’Shea and we went more 4-5-1. We improved and Diagne should’ve put us ahead with a header at the back post which was cleared ‘off the line’ although I’m not sure it was going in, and having got back into it we gifted Wolves a flukey goal right before halftime instead of managing the half out.
I expected to see Robinson at halftime because Gallagher and Mailtland Niles are the same and we don’t win many of any when they play together- energy and pace but severely lacking composure.
However we stayed the same and began to open up Wolves through some decent play. Both Townsend and Gallagher should’ve scored before we scored a fine goal from a good move and a great cross by Townsend onto Diagne’s head.
I thought we would really go for it but the change never came and I think it’s fair to say conditions deteriorated to the point where a mistake at either end looked more likely.
Into the last 15 or so Robinson came on for AMN but we couldn’t get going in the wind and rain and I thought Wolves with their direct runners handled it better.
There was still time for me to curse the skies at our stupidity in decision-making more than once. Firstly Pereira who had the stage set with a free kick in range with ten to go that was begging to be skidded at goal on an awful pitch but we tried an intricate routine which Furlong spooned out - we deserve to be relegated for that passage of play in those circumstances alone. And then Gallagher taking the ball in a great position running at goal but showing the composure of Frank Spencer on roller-skates and smashing it high and wide with Robinson a simple pass away from being played in.
At least we didn’t lose it at the death.
Amazingly we’re still not formally relegated but we just need the whole thing done now. It felt so odd going into this match not really feeling anything for it at all.
The fat lady is on the stage. The Orchestra is already in tune and about to play the first note.
How did it come to this. When Peace concluded the sale of the century we thought that perhaps a billionaire Chinese entrepreneur would invest sufficient funds to be competitive in the Premier league.
Maybe Lai was given the wrong impression when persuaded to buy or political circumstances in China have changed. Who knows?
Two things are clear. Meagre investment in new players was misplaced and the insistence by Bilic that he had to reassemble the Championship side which had crawled over the promotion line for a campaign in the Premier league.
It was obvious that continuing to play the Bilic style was heading for trouble with a team of mainly Championship players.
Hindsight is wonderful but had Allardyce been appointed 6 weeks earlier with his experience then we would possibly not be on the brink.
The club needs to plan for next season now because next seasons championship looks pretty weak to me.
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