Date: 26th August 2008 at 4:42pm
Written by:

The Baggies will go into next weekend`s match-up with old manager Gary Megson at the Reebok still in search of their first Premiership points.

In a game which was very reminiscent of our FA Cup semi-final game against Portsmouth last season, we dominated proceedings for the first 60 minutes, but created few chances and finished none. We were duly punished for not turning our overwhelming possession into goals, firstly when Mikel Arteta played in Leon Osman (65), and when the Baggies streamed forward in search of an equaliser they conceded a second, a complete breakdown in communication between Carson and Meite left the former stranded in no-man`s land, and gave Yakubu a simple header to make it 2-0 on 76 minutes. After 179 minutes of top-flight football, West Brom scored their first goal of the new campaign. A slightly harshly awarded penalty against Phil Neville for handball allowed Roman Bednar to open his, and the Baggies, account for the season.

The glaring deficiency that sees us in the bottom three and with zero points after two games (admittedly against good opposition) is a lack of firepower up front. Miller was not as lively today as he was at the Emirates, however as we again went with one up front he looked isolated against the Toffees two towering centre backs, and barely got a sniff. The introduction of Bednar, and subsequent switch to 4-4-2 again seemed to give the team more options in the final third. This said, most fans see signing a striker prior to the end of the transfer window as a top priority.

There were some positives to take from this defeat – the debut of Zuiverloon being the obvious highlight. An all action debut from the Dutch youngster who showed no signs of jetlag after his recent flight back from the Olympics.

In all, a harsh defeat but a useful lesson in pinpointing the areas the management need to improve if we`re to cut it in the Prem this season. It`s early days yet.

Player Ratings

Scott Carson 6/10
Played well generally but caught out for the second goal in familiar circumstances for people who saw him for Villa last season. An improvement in concentration and he’ll be a world beater.

Gianni Zuiverloon 8/10
Glorious debut. Highly talented full-back, replacing Hoefkens, who disappointed last week, and on this performance the Belgian won’t be getting back in the team in a hurry. Quality on the ball, good feet, great reading of the game. A huge prospect, his only blemish was a booking.

Abdoulaye Meite 5/10
Clearly still getting back into the rhythm of regular football. Involved in the mix-up for the second goal, and a poor clearance led to the first. Some good clearances/ blocks, also picked up a booking.

Leon Barnett 8/10
Another great performance from last week’s fans vote for our best player. Rarely put a foot wrong, just keeps getting better.

Paul Robinson 7/10
Continuing to prove the doubters wrong. Also not picked up a booking in two games. Steady but not spectacular.

James Morrison 4/10
A poor game, barely featured. On this evidence should be the man to make way for the extra striker (or Valero).

Kim Do-Heon 7/10
Another good performance from Kim, and again a big ask for him to link everything going through the midfield. Made way for Sherjill on 70 minutes as we went in search of an equaliser.

Robert Koren 7/10
Didn’t do too much wrong, nor anything oustanding. Was sacrificed for Bednar with 20 left.

Jonno Greening 7/10
Same as Koren (see above), but stayed on the pitch for the full 90.

Chris Brunt 6/10
An improvement on last week, and played in some good crosses, particularly one for Miller after half-time. Still question marks over his ability at this level.

Ishmael Miller 5/10
Isolated against the centre back giants. Had a good effort from Brunts cross, attempted the lob and Howard gathered. Made way for Beattie with 10 mins left.

Roman Bednar 7/10
Missed a good opportunity on 86 from Morrison’s through ball, but took his penalty well. Was lucky not to go into the book.

Sherjill MacDonald 5/10
Little impact.

Very poor, even though he only played for ten minutes. Does not look like a Premiership player. Moore/Slusarski would surely be a better option on this showing.

Manager Rating
Tony Mowbray 6/10

One up front at home, especially when that one is the ‘raw’ Ishmael Miller needa addressing. Give Bednar, and 4-4-2, a go from the start.

West Brom (4-4-1-1)
Carson, Zuiverloon, Meite, Barnett, Robinson, Morrison, Kim (MacDonald 71), Koren (Bednar 70), Greening, Brunt, Miller (Beattie 80).
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Hoefkens, Cech, Pele.

Everton (4-2-3-1)
Howard, Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Baines, Jagielka, Arteta, Rodwell, Osman, Baxter (Vaughan 58), Yakubu (Nuno Valente 86).
Subs Not Used: Turner, Jutkiewicz, Agard, Kissock, Wallace.

Rob Styles (Hampshire)