Bournemouth 1 - West Bromwich Albion 0
After a promising start, Albion slid back towards familiar territory when defeat at Bournemouth pushed them down to 12th place in the table. Having started with Saido Berahino as a lone striker with Nacer Chadli behind him, they created little by way of chances and were probably lucky to reach the break on level terms.
Albion improved after the break and Berahino forced a superb save from Artur Boruc, but was replaced by Salomon Rondon on the hour mark. Bournemouth finally got the points when Callum Wilson's backwards flick found the corner of the net with around ten minutes left to play.
Tony Pulis responded to the chants of "your football is ****" at the final whistle, saying
"When I first came into the football club the supporters were moaning about Alan Irvine because he was playing tippy tappy football and not winning football. So you can't please everybody all the time"
Yes, but the point you are missing, Pulis, is that Irvine was in charge from June to December and had one transfer window to work with spending (assuming he had much of a say in it) circa £17.1m of which £10m was for Ideye. Whereas you have had 4 transfer windows so far, spending circa £78.75m so far including £11m on two players you’ve already bought and got rid of and £4.75 on a player you are desperate to get rid of.
And, one final point:
And that is having had time to build up a squad over nearly two years to get to this point. Hardly the sort of record to be boasting about when referring to a previous manager is it?
Irvine wasn’t the right appointment – I suspect you’ll go a long way before you’ll find someone to disagree. However, with the funds and the time you have had available to you, Pulis, your record shouldn’t be on a par with Irvine’s. That sort of statement is in the same vein as the “you don’t have a right to moan at us for being knocked out of the League Cup because we did manage a few shots against the team from 2 divisions below us” comment, whatever the words were!
After the final game last season I speculated that Pulis might throw his toys out of the pram (again). It looks like he is preparing to do just that. "The squad is old. No marquee signings. What do you expect me to do?" It's so sad that this early in the season it has all become about Tony Pulis.
He's not an awful manager, but I wish he would keep his mouth shut and focus on football. Rifts in management quickly spread to the players. And, if he'd spent the summer scouting players instead of promoting himself on TV we might be further ahead.
Time to pull together - a familiar refrain at the Albion!
Albion lacking in Vitality
Any hopes that our record signing might be the one of the five signings to bring some much needed creativity to our lacklustre midfiled were dashed when Chadi was merely given the Gardner role out wide on the left of a four-man midfiled sitting ahead of Yacob, sitting in front of the deeper line of four. Any creativity, any that a Pulisball game plan required, was thus either going to have to come from the youth of Sam Field, or from the aged experience of Fletcher, fresh, or perhaps not so fresh, from a full 90 minutes captaining his country, although with Rondon excused a start after his international exertions, and Robson-Kanu, fit enough to come on as sub for his country but not fit enough to be the lone chaser of lost causes, that role was handed to a player who hadn't been tired out by an international call-up. Albion's other signing, Ayom, our new right-back cover, did get a place on the bench.
According to the commentary team, current Bournemouth boss Howe had played under Pulis when the latter had been starting out in management on the South Coast. How the Bournemouth fans must have wished that he had remained there to build a dynasty similar to the one he had since gone on to start to build at the Albion - although perhaps some of the Albion faithful might have wished the same.
The first half: yes, well, we did end it with the point we started it with and, when you're playing against the sort of odds that we are starting every game up against, we probably exceded some people's expectations, though clearly not those who started the "we've had a shot" chants at around the 39-minute mark, after BBK curled one high and wide.
Chadli was to give us a glimpse of what he might be able to do in a central role just after the break, making space to get a shot on target (no chants?) that a defender had to divert out for a corner, at the start of the first of a few brief periods of pressure for Albion that ended after Galloway had nutmegged a defender to cut into the box, however when his shot rebounded to our want-away wunderkind, he could only shoot straight at the grounded keeper and then it was the home side breaking away, during which move the ref blocked Yacob off from the ball carrier, resulting in Yacob's then delayed challenge, or perhaps his shoving of the ref out of the way, earning him a booking.
The "Albion are a threat from set pieces" meme got yet another fillip when McAuley's diving header went straight at the keeper's arm around the hour mark, at which point Rondon was deemed to have enough in the tank to come on and run around up front instead of BBK. Ten minutes later and an equally ineffective Fletcher was replaced by Gardner, although the latter might have been surprised to be asked to play through the middle rather than do his usual job out wide and allow Chadli to move inside and create.
Despite having had the better part of the possession after the restart, Albion's inability to create much in the way of real opportunities (BBC reported 2 shots on target: I could make a claim for a couple more) saw them go behind after a rather aimless long ball conceded possession and, after a couple of minutes of Bournemouth probing, a whipped-in cross was back-heeled into the net, giving us only ten minutes to do what we hadn't done in eighty in order to get a point - score. Even with the introduction of Leko for Yacob, ten minutes, plus five for stoppages, wasn't anywhere near long enough, not least because Bournemouth paid the ultimate homage to Pulis's past history there with a "keep it in the corner" display that had some fans, no doubt recgnising the irony, singing about shit football.
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