Sheffield United 2 West Brom 1
It’s hard being an Albion fan at the moment. There have been occasional signs that the Baggies can compete, but time and again, sloppy defending has let them down. It was the same story at Bramall Lane as an otherwise excellent defensive display was let down by two mistakes which ultimately cost them the points.
Ultimately, however, it’s difficult to argue that the Blades didn’t deserve the victory. They dominated possession throughout and, while their first half efforts were fairly blunt, Wilder’s half time changes saw them improve after the break and the weight of pressure was always likely to tell.
Albion’s squad is desperately lacking in experience at this level and it shows on occasion. I’m struggling to really blame the players on show tonight as I felt they put in a huge effort, something that has been lacking in some games recently, but a couple of lapses has cost them.
However, such lapses are almost inevitable when they were under so much pressure. The greater failure is, perhaps, the inability of the midfield to protect the back four, hence Allardyce’s desire to sign a defensive midfielder in this window. Okay Yokuşlu and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will hopefully have a big impact once they come into the side.
Despite the pressure that Albion were under for much of the game, the Baggies could have regained the lead and it took a wonderful save from Ramsdale to deny Callum Robinson, although I do wonder whether VAR may have disallowed it as he may have been a fraction offside.
It is obviously a massive blow for the Baggies and the task is becoming ever more difficult as the games go by. 38 points is a realistic target which means that Albion need to get 26 points from their remaining 16 games – not impossible, but certainly very difficult.
Most Baggies fans will have been buoyed by the new signings on Monday but will now be feeling despondent once again. Remember, this is just one game, a big game of course, but Monday’s new additions haven’t played yet. If Albion are to pull of the Greater Escape, they will need to have a massive impact, and this result hasn’t changed that fact.
You have to have hope – it’s what being a football fan is all about!