West Bromwich Albion 4 - Leeds United 1
I bloody loved that. So much better, most balanced performance of the season, solid for most of the game and could’ve scored more.
The lineup was interesting with HRK named - I thought as an option to ping from deep if we faced the Bielsa press, but I was intrigued to see the formation.
Within a couple of minutes it was pretty obvious that we had a flat back four and two lines of three with Phillips playing narrow with Mozza and Livermore and HRK and Barnes either side of JRod.
We were just so much better - we didn’t piss around at the back, we got forward in numbers and HRK started really brightly bringing others in to play.
I thought Mozza, Phillips and Barnes were slower to get going but as the half went on Barnes began to pull them apart, Phillips gave us real drive and pace running from deep and Mozza picked up the tempo and reading of the game - really cute interceptions and always picking the right pass.
We should’ve been a goal or two up by halftime. I thought we were just lacking that bit of pace to finish them off from promising positions but it was encouraging.
Second half we started strongly and after seemingly slowing down a promising break JRod showed neat play before finding HRK who arrowed the ball with fantastic precision into the far corner. Thoroughly deserved.
Despite a spell of possession Phillips earned a second through hard work and then getting decent contact on a shot their keeper should probably have saved.
Barnes added a third and Gayle scored an outrageous 4th.
It was such a shame we conceded late as the back 4 played really well and were covered admirably by the 3 in front of them.
Even his biggest critics will be delighted for Moore as he’s such a great guy. He got the tactics spot on in what was a big pressure game for him.
I sincerely hope he keeps the back 4 and he should take big credit for the performances of HRK and Phillips in a more central role.
I really don’t think the league is any great shakes at all and if we stay solid but maintain commitment to attack, as we did tonight, we really should be there or thereabouts.
Nothing like winning under the lights. Magic.
tonking result. Travelling up the M5 with two Leeds fans, the most optimistic prediction was my 2-1. In reality I don't think Albion fan saw this great result coming. But isn't this why we follow the Albion? We are predictably unpredictable.
The flat back four looked way more solid than recently. James Morrison was the maestro, and he works so hard. Matt Phillips was awesome too, fast on the break and always dangerous. Leeds played some nice football, and you can see why they're near the top - but they rarely threatened in the final third. As a negative you could argue that Sam's distribution is mostly thumping it down field, but we know that Daws and Hegazi are not great at Barca-style possession. Crucially the excellent defence were happy to give them the ball down the channels but stopped virtually all of their crosses into the box.
A great game for a neutral. A greater game For a Baggie. Boing boing!
This was my first visit to B71 since the Reading game so I was extremely nervous to see which version of WBA turned up. Now we know... what a remarkable change in performance, even though we only had 28% possession.
I will leave the tactical experts to delve into the detail but I would describe this as our best performance this season because Leeds are clearly a well organised and talented team - amazing number of Assistants in their Manager’s area!
Once they both got going, Phillips and Barnes caused chaos – the former seems to have lost weight recently? It was also so good that our previous "Back 3" have stopped playing themselves into trouble.
I thought all 4 defenders did really well — Gibbs is a class player and Tosin’s pass for the 3rd goal was sublime. Good to see the return of Morrison who so often picks out the "right" clever pass.
I groaned a little when I saw that Robson-Kanu was starting but his goal was excellent and he contributed a good deal. Relief to see Gayle back on the pitch... eventually.
We now have scored 37 league goals – leading all 4 divisions but it is remarkable — and stressful – that 75% have come in the second half of games.
Night matches at the Hawthorns are always special and this was no exception. I have to say I would have taken a draw before we kicked off. My brother texted me prior to the game saying it would be a miracle if we got anything!! It just shows you football can be a funny game! We didn't just beat Leeds we thumped them!
Were Leeds poor? They certainly didn't do much with the 72% possession they had, or was that because we didn't let them have anything in the final third?
Immense performances from every player on the pitch. I liked the formation, Mozza was back with a bang and his experience and calmness shone through. Gayle has to start ahead of HRK and apart from that please Darren do not tinker or change anything for Ipswich where I expect us to get 3 more points. This league is tough, two games a week, lots of teams vying for promotion, it's going to be a long season. If we can keep everyone fit we can be there at the seasons end, then our problems will start with all our loanees?
Oh and although Leeds supporters are not my favourite bunch of people they do support their team well. Well done baggie boys.
All text, pictures and graphics are copyright of BOING unless otherwise stated