Baggies bow out with defeat number 22

Leeds United 3 West Brom 1

Albion bowed out of the Premier League with another performance that was representative of their season as a whole – the occasional bit of sparkle, but too many mistakes at key moments and short of the required standard for much of the time.

That it was their 22nd defeat of the season means that they have lost almost two thirds of their games this season and their 76 goals conceded means that they have averaged exactly two goals per game – just think how many goals they would have conceded without their stand-out performer, Sam Johnstone.

It was very uncharacteristic of the stopper’s season that his error was the most obvious of the match and I hope that it has not harmed his chances of getting into England’s squad for the summer given Nick Pope’s injury doubts.

In truth, Leeds United were not at their best but were still good enough to win comfortably. Albion did cause them some worries with high pressing, particularly in the first half, but they never looked likely to take the lead and it was no surprise that their only goal was gift-wrapped by Kalvin Phillips, albeit well taken by Hal Robson-Kanu.

All three of Leeds’ goals were preventable – the opener was down to some abysmal marking at a corner, the second was Johnstone’s misjudgement while the third was as a result of a careless handball from Okay Yokuşlu. At the other end, Maitland-Niles and Diangana both missed good chances, but Albion missing good chances is hardly a new thing.

For Sam Allardyce, it was his last game as Albion boss and it could be his last game as a Premier League boss. Perhaps there will be a call for his fire-fighting services come the autumn, but his failure at the Hawthorns will not have enhanced his reputation, nor will his decision to abandon the Baggies to their fate in the Championship.

Back in March, I wrote a piece in which I said that Big Sam was not the right man to take the club forward and, while I have, in recent weeks, come to see some of the benefits of him staying, I only ever felt that he was a short term solution and his departure does provide the opportunity to do a full reset.

However, given the past few years, it is difficult to have any confidence in the club hierarchy to make the right choices, but we can but live in hope.

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