West Brom 0 Newcastle United 0
Albion’s failure to beat Newcastle United at the Hawthorns has more than likely condemned them to playing Championship football next season. Mathematically, there is still hope with thirty points still to play for, but with what is effectively a nine point gap to make up on two clubs in ten games, the mountain is surely too big to climb.
Allardyce’s fear that the need to play twice in less than 72 hours would have an impact on their ability to win this match looks to have come true as an unchanged side failed to produce the same level of performance as they did on Thursday evening. It may have been a conscious decision not to press as high as they have done in recent games with the fear that energy levels would not last the ninety minutes, but whatever the reasons, they were just a little bit short in the final third.
By no means was there a lack of commitment and it was not a bad performance, but Albion need wins and a lack of quality and creativity has cost them. There weren’t too many chances for the Baggies with Matt Phillips missing the clearest of them when he fired over from eight yards. Diagne missed a couple of half chances but perhaps the most disappointing of the attacking players was Matheus Pereira – the Brazilian has looked a little off the pace for much of the season and time and again he failed to produce the right quality of delivery or made the wrong decision. It is, perhaps, unfair to single him out as pretty much every attacking player was guilty of that at some point during the game, but we know what Pereira is capable of and he is failing to produce it when it matters most.
Defensively, Albion were largely untroubled. Okay Yokuşlu was once again supreme in the middle of the park and was by far the best player on the field. Conor Townsend is also due praise for another excellent performance both defensively and as a constant threat on the left wing.
That the Baggies have managed to produce three clean sheets in their last four games is a remarkable turnaround, largely due to the introduction of Okay in my opinion, but they have also scored just once in those four games. Recent weeks have seen a definite improvement, but it is just ten games too late.
Allardyce and Albion will fight on, but with them probably needing twenty points from their final ten games, it is surely too much to ask.