Another week, another 3-0 against a top four side. Chelsea saw off Albion thanks to two fifteen million pound players – Jose Bosingwa and Nic Anelka, the latter in the form of his life. That each of those players cost more than three times the Albion`s record buy, £4.7m Borja Valero, meant that this result was never really in doubt. As such, I have decided to do my match review in a slightly different manner.
This was the fourth match against the traditional top four – albeit the first at home. Bar the Arsenal match, the match followed exactly the template of previous encounters. Dominating possession for at least the first half hour, without creating anything of note (Ish rasping a left-footed shot wide early on was the only significant opportunity on Cudicini`s goal before the match was away from us). Then we concede – this time courtesy of an unstoppable Bosingwa-Rocket (Koren should have been closer to his man, but the finish was sublime). After the goal, the players heads went down, passes didn`t connect, and surely enough the Baggies conceded two quick goals to completely kill the game off, with Carson and Meite both culpable. At half time I wandered around the relatively unfamiliar territory of the East Stand contemplating a cricket score. Thankfully Chelsea didn`t want to seem to make it to double figures, even though Malouda should have scored 10 himself. The boys gave a good account second half – but it`s not much good when the game is already lost.
You can`t get the personnel these days
One highlight, as with last week`s defeat at Anfield, was the returning Felipe Teixeira. OIhave expressed severe doubts as the abilities of the Portuguese to cut it in the Prem, but he hit a sumptuous shot that just flashed over within moments of coming on and looked to link the play well – alongside Valero, who was quality throughout, this could be the solution to supplying the ammunition to our front men, though the inclusion of them both would seem somewhat lightweight, especially against the likes of Stoke, Bolton & Blackburn.
Another ‘returner` was Meite at the heart of defence, coming in for the hapless Ryan Donk. It speaks volumes of our current defence that after an hour in which he was left wanting on two separate occasions, both of which led to goals, he was subbed off to a rapturous applause. To give him credit, he does have a presence in the box and his heading prowess is mighty, let`s hope he gets up to speed quickly because we`ve got to stop leaking goals.
The next four games are massive. Away ties to Stoke and Wigan, home against Pompey then away to Sunderland are games where points are not only possible but essential. I would tentatively suggest that seven of the twelve available from those lot will be good going, and now really is the time to end Stokes ludicrous record against us stretching back 28 years. Many have called for an end to Mowbray`s footballing ideals, not least the MOTD pundits, however I reckon TM should stick to his guns against these four – we play beautiful football, and against lesser opposition the goals will come.
The league this season is fascinating, and with six games to go until the half way stage we`ve now got to make sure we don`t find ourselves at the bottom, or at least cut adrift, come Christmas. I for one don`t fancy another great escape! A few wins and we`ll be rocketing right back up the table like one of Neil Clements free-kicks. Huge match this weekend, and here`s hoping Carson gets another cap against Germany in the week. Until next time, an optimistic Baggie.
West Brom (4-4-2)
Carson, Zuiverloon, Meite (Donk 68), Olsson, Robinson, Koren, Morrison (Filipe Teixeira 58), Greening, Borja Valero, Miller, Bednar (Kim 46).
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Cech, Brunt, Moore
Cudicini, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry (Ferreira 85), Bridge, Lampard, Mikel, Deco, Kalou (Ballack 68), Anelka (Drogba 74), Malouda.
Subs Not Used: Hilario, Ashley Cole, Sinclair, Mineiro
Steve Bennett (Kent)