West Bromwich Albion 2 - Swansea City 3
Well what the bloody hell was that? We were terrible for 25 mins, then utterly careless in front of goal, then okay for a spell and finally a shambles for the last 10 minutes.
I was optimistic - with hindsight utterly stupidly - when I saw the lineup. The expectation was that Rogic must have been fit and shown a lot in training to get a start against a Swansea team we knew would dominate possession.
But it was clear, literally after a couple of minutes, that he was absolutely miles off it. Off the pace, not able to sprint and he couldn’t live/didn’t even try to live with Swansea. We were overrun and could’ve been 3-0 down in 15 mins. The goal was another Button clanger, all at sea from a corner following a fine save.
I felt for BTA in that opening period as he pressed alone with nobody other than Wallace and sometimes Diagana backed him up. Swift and Rogic were nowhere to be seen. They didn’t press but also when we got the ball in defence they hid or didn’t bust a gut to give an option - criminal in this system and it forced us to resort to aimless punts.
After about 20 mins Livermore seemed to have enough and as well as showing for the ball and playing in the centre on his own, he began to charge past everyone in front of him to press too. It sparked life into us and we won the ball high a few times, but we failed to capitalise on gifts with Diagana getting the weight of passes all wrong.
For the rest of the half we threatened with Wallace swiping at a really good chance, BTA failing to put the ball in from 6 yards from a corner and Grady nodding wide of the top corner. In this spell at least Rogic and Swift showed signs of a pulse.
Second half and we picked up where we left off although I’m amazed Rogic stayed on because it looked like winning the ball high up was more likely to get us a goal than a pass or piece of genius. Livermore deservedly slammed home an early equaliser and it was game on.
Mulumby came on for Rogic and we pressed higher, and within a few minutes we’d won it high again. Wallace calmly picked out Grady and he slammed the ball home.
At this point we’d looked comfortable, however it can only have been 5 minutes before the Swansea sub picked up the ball on the edge of our box and we didn’t do enough to close him down before he swept the ball home in off the post. The defence could’ve done better but it looked like another soft one for Button. It seems like every shot on target goes in, as do some crosses.
There were still time for changes and we went 4-4-2 with Livermore (best player?) and Swift making way for Grant and Okay. There wasn’t much in it but after some good work on the left Grant was upended in the box.
Now if I was Steve Bruce and I had everything on the line, the last footballer in the entire pyramid I’d want my reputation and job staked on would be Karlan Grant. BTA had been worthy of his start and I’d have backed the kid. Grant got the nod and pathetically clipped the ball down the centre and the keeper seemed to dive the wrong way but recover and save it. Was anyone surprised?
And then it was inevitable that the next Swansea foray into our box carved us open to make it 3-2.
The was still enough time for us to miss chances to equalise before the whistle blew and the P45 chants kicked in.
This probably has to be the end of the line. Bruce got so many calls before and during the game wrong and he’s just become a luckless albatross who can’t win games.
I think he’s done a decent squad overhaul in the circumstances and got some of the bad apples out but his results are dire. He’s also tried to change the style for the better and has been unlucky with Ajayi and Dike but it’s not worked. Thanks and goodbye.
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