West Bromwich Albion 1 - Derby County 4

Date: Wednesday 24th October 2018 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Johnstone 5.2, Adarabioyo 3.1, Dawson 2.5, Bartley 3.1, Phillips 4.5 (Morrison, 62 5.1), Field 4.7, Brunt 2.8, Gibbs 5.5 (Mears, 46 3.6), Barnes 5.4, Gayle 4.8 (Robson-Kanu, 46 2.6), Rodriguez 4.1
Unused subs: Myhill, Sako, Edwards, Hoolahan
Manager: Darren Moore 2.4
Scorers: Rodriguez (83)
Referee: Robert Jones 3.6
Attendance: 22,848   Home Fans 4.5   Away Fans 6.6
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 19

Brendan Clegg:

Top to bottom a terrible and woeful performance.

Struggling to recall the last time we were so humiliated by such an average team.

It feels like it’s been coming - that anyone brave enough and organised enough at the Hawthorns could come and rip this system to pieces.

I think it’s big decision time - we can’t go up playing this system with these players and if, purely through the quality running through this team and lack of it elsewhere in the division we do get promoted we would get absolutely annihilated every week in the top flight playing like this.

Is 4-2-3-1 or 4-5-1 really so bad when it’s largely served us well for a decade?

I’m done with blaming the players - the back 3 just can’t do it and it’s making them look worse with every game, but then again absolutely top tier players with the best qualities struggle in this system.

Worst thing was we started well and Derby couldn’t get out yet they were 2 up without even trying.

So many errors of our own making.

I thought the subs were crazy given the options available even with injuries but then I really don’t see how Burke doesn’t make the squad in situations like this even as a maverick option.

Derby won’t have an easier game all season.

  • Johnstone - 6 some good saves but inspired little confidence and the only time he kicked the ball well was when he hammered it out of the ground after goals 3 & 4.
  • Dawson - 3 Catastrophic. Is not and never will be a baller.
  • Tosin - 3 Performances like this in teams set up to fail can kill careers for players his age.
  • Bartley - 3 Terrified and terrifying. Why we persist with a system that requires 3 centre backs when we struggle for 1 decent one us beyond me.
  • Phillips - 4 Looked well off it fitness-wise.
  • Field - 5 Started well but struggled through little options and clearly lacking minutes and sharpness with heavy touches and bundled off it.
  • Brunt - 5 Tried but some terrible passing and couldn’t cover ground. Should’ve been moved to left back.
  • Gibbs - 5 Did okay but didn’t look fully at it.
  • Barnes - 5 a couple of nearly moments but a touch greedy and some poor decisions.
  • Rodriguez- 4 Goal or not I thought he was totally ineffective again. Needs dropping.
  • Gayle - 5 Worked but little service.
  • Mears - 5 Did his best, not his fault but a thought it was a terrible choice to make.
  • HRK - 4 Didn’t offer anything again. Burke might at least bring chaos through the middle.
  • Morrison- 6 Did better than most but by the time he was on there was no pace or threat to pick out so he merely ticked us over but at least passed it to our players.

Mark Koppel:

This is what I said on baggies.com after the Blues away game:

"I predict if West Brom persist on playing the 3-5-2 formation then we will not get promoted."

Frustrating this is even more clear after tonight as Derby exploited all the usual spaces at the back.

To add insult to injury, we also have 3 central defenders who cannot pass water.

So not sure if this 3 at the back experiment is Moore's or Jones' fantasy, but their responsibility now is to abandon it.

No more to report.

Ancient Baggie:

That was dire. Apart from the fact everything Derby hit went in, the Albion performance was shocking. I like Darren Moore but I think his team selection and tactics are starting to worry me. Bartley not good enough whatever formation we play and definitely not in a back 3. Brunt has been a great servant but playing him out of position is unfair.

We made a bad start and were unable to adapt. I thought the substitutions were shocking and totally unimaginative. Mears and HRK are not good enough to even be on the bench. Sako for Gayle, Brunt to left back and bring on Morrison or Hoolaran when Gibbs pulled up? I thought Sam Field played well and if he's not playing next game then it will only confirm my fears. I'm not sure we can play from the back with the defenders we have on the books because sides just know how vulnerable they are.

Anyway bad day at office and I only hope it might be a wake up call. Two bad performances on the trot but we're still only a couple of points off the top of the league. COYB


Fellow Baggies!

Living afar, I've only posted once before, a big thanks to Brendan et al, for giving a fans perspective on our trials and tribulations.

Firstly, it's great to see 'Big Dave' being giving a most deserved opportunity to lead our troops, like most of us I worry it won't work out but, finally, in modern football, some loyalty! I hope the board continue to show this through the hard times and connect with the manager when results aren't going our way. DM has hit the nail smack on the head in calling for the entire club to be engaged and communicate together, not just an isolated coach trying to maintain authority over players spoilt by earning far too much money.

Secondly, it's also refreshing that the club, hopefully, recognise that, first and foremost, football is supposed to be entertainment, not just a cash cow. My only previous post was a rant against JP, and whilst his pragmatic stance has left the club (again hopefully) in much better condition than when he completed his 'Coup d'état', his last few years were clearly focussed on maximising his own profit well above consideration for the paying fans. It was awful 'anti-entertainment' (I can't use the word football) under TP and even worse to see the abject failure of both management and board under the hapless Pardew, my god they couldn't even fire him!

To the 'New Era' and last night's game.

I agree 98% with the posts to date, only exceptions being I thought Derby looked excellent (all teams are average in the Championship - isn't that why they're there?) and we made one good substitution, albeit too late, we passed better with Morrison.

So, hats off to Derby, Frank Lampard and his team, they annihilated us and, a few dodging refereeing decisions apart, both teams got the result their performances deserved. I believe Derby played the game we are also trying to achieve, the difference being whereas their players suit the role, we look like the proverbial square pegs being forced into round holes. They looked young, lean, keen and fit, dare I say 'Hazardesque', we looked like carthorses utterly at a loss in a show jumping arena...

The rest we all agree, it is a result we have all seen coming, even at half time against QPR I really wondered which team was going to win. Our recent form hasn't been able to paper over the cracks, or should I say chasms, and the next question is how long can we continue with this approach, before we may have to decide to play the game that suits our players rather than trying to coerce our players to play the game we want? Obviously, it was only 'one game in a long season' but it clearly exposed our eternal Albion fans fear, it was not an 'odd game' result but a reality check of where we really are.

My biggest concern though has to be, for both sets of fans, how much our success depends on the quality of loan players from 'big clubs' in preference to our own homegrown talent. Come the season end, even with Lampard's connections, will he be able to keep his loan stars? How would they fare in the Prem without them? I think there is a deep flaw in many aspiring clubs 'models', loan players are only a temporary palliative fix, absolutely not a long-term cure. More comments welcome on future posts!

I won't mark the players or manager, harsh truth is, with the exception of Barnes, they can only receive between 0 and 5 (average) for quality. In the main, they kept plugging away until the bitter end, so most would rate better for commitment, but unfortunately that takes little pain away from a worrying string of results. However, it is essential we keep behind the team and new management, as for all their faults and naivety, for the first time in many years, the focus is back to entertaining and pleasing the fans.

Keep the faith and a big thank you to DM and the club for trying to bring the 'Boing' back to our illustrious 'Baggies'.

Sarky Parky:

The air must have been thick with the wings of chickens coming home to roost. Derby simply did what Forest, Blues and Wednesday would have done had they taken their chances. I make a few general points from a position of seeing both matches and snippets on TV. Firstly Johnstone is coming under a little unjustified criticism. He isn't Ben Foster but will do a good job for us for several years. Secondly, the only outfield players we have signed that improve the squad are both loanees. Thirdly, through no fault of their own, Bartley and Mears are not remotely good enough for a club that has aspirations. Fourthly, any two from Brunt, Barry and Livermore in Central midfield are just easy meat for pacy well-drilled attackers. Fifthly, the system we are playing at the back is making poor players out of Dawson and Hegazi, two players we would have staked our lives on before the season started.

Cast your minds back to last season when we came within four points of staying up. We outplayed Everton both home and away but only got two points, we had the best of the Palace match at home but only got a point, and for good measure we became the only team all season to win at Anfield albeit in the cup. In the last five games of the season we won at Old Trafford and Newcastle, won and drew with Spurs and Liverpool at the Hawthorns conceding only two goals (both to Liverpool) in the process. Most of the players from those games are still with us but could we begin to think about a repeat of those performances? To suggest it might prompt a visit from the men in white suits. So what has changed? Two things. The personnel brought in, with the exceptions of Barnes and Gayle, to replace the ones who have left are not remotely good enough. And the system is wrong. It is exciting when it comes off, disastrous if it goes wrong when our weaknesses are glaringly exposed. In April last year we stopped three Premier League attacks from scoring, two of which had players worth close to half a billion pounds.

Darren and his team have to admit that until we acquire better players, either through the cheque book or the academy, we have to play a much tighter formation that puts emphasis on stopping goals as well as scoring them. This doesn't mean going back to the Pulis era (few would want that) but with Phillips, Gayle and Barnes - and Rodriguez when he's really tuned in - we have players who can break at speed and always provide a threat.

The mark of a good manager is to make a team better than the sum of its parts. Last season DM achieved this but this season the opposite has applied. Last night was a serious wake up call. If DM and his coaching team don't heed it but go sleepwalking on we are heading for mid-table or worse. 3-5-2 is a disaster, Darren. Change it before we get similar hammering from the better teams in the division.