West Bromwich Albion 1 - Burnley 2
Having watched Burnley play every game this season 4-4-2 it was to my great surprise and horror that Pardew went with an unchanged team in a 3-5-2 at home. We had a team with no attacking width or pace that would likely only have one spare man against Burnley’s 2 famously burly strikers. It was no surprise that we were atrocious - totally dominated by a team drilled to death on the training ground and built in a system that works for a team, not individuals.
The first half was as bad as we’ve been in 2 decades. There was fortune to Burnley’s goal and it was a great finish but they hardly stepped out of gear whereas we could not get onto the ball, hold it or create chances. The inevitable goal came early and it could’ve been more.
We were so all over the place that Pardew was forced into the 4-5-1 he should’ve started with albeit with Nyom at right wing, JRod on the left and players genuinely scratching heads, arguing or bumping into each other. That Pardew didn’t make a sub with 15 of the first half remaining to at least get one winger on was indefensible and I thought our only hope would be a coup at half time. At least the system change steadied the ship and kept it to one.
After the break Phillips came on for the surely injured Gibbs to go right wing with Nyom going to left back, Brunt left wing as we switched to 4-4-2. That gave us 5 minutes of impetus where we showed a touch of promise before Burnley sussed us out and began to dominate again.
The issue was that Yacob & Livermore can’t play in a 4 so whilst they gave their all we couldn’t get the ball at all - with Rodriguez in particular disappearing into total anonymity. For reasons only known to Pardew he left it and left it despite us being desperate for change.
At the back we got sloppier as we struggled to get out and then just as Burke finally stripped off, Wood barged through the heart of our defence to score through his own determination.
Burke came on in a free role behind Rondon and we still struggled to get on the ball but he at least showed energy and pace to push Burnley back and through better pressure and rare service Rondon scored a decent goal.
We went from a team of no wingers to a team with 3 wingers and despite mistakes all over the place and a lack of fluidity we created enough chances in the last 10 minutes to equalise. Once again we lacked the quality to finish opportunities that are difficult but have to be taken at this level.
Throughout the game the organisation, tactics, discipline and plans for basic things like set-pieces and throw-ins were so bad that you wonder what exactly we do in training all week. The players have some responsibility but yet again they were hung out to dry by the manager’s tactics.
Pardew has to go now as he’s totally clueless and we’re being humiliated. Surely there must be an interim coach somewhere at the club who cares and isn’t totally clueless. Brunty as player-manager (probably more manager) wouldn’t do any worse.
I look at Dyche and see a coach who keeps it simple, doesn’t complicate things or play players out of position and has a way of playing totally drilled into his team. Everything he does and asks of his team makes sense. Where can we find someone like him?
Please please let this be the end of the Pardew era. We’ve suffered enough.
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