Fulham 2 West Brom 0
On a night when the brightest thing about Albion was their kit, Slaven Bilić will have some serious concerns about his team following a desperately poor performance at Fulham that left the Baggies still in search of their first win of the season and in the bottom three.
While the level of commitment shown by the majority of the players was below what is required, Bilić should also look at his own decisions before and during this match. Starting the match with the eleven that finished the game so strongly at Brighton would have been an obvious ploy, or at least to play Matheus Pereira in a more central role, but he opted for the eleven that disappointed in the first half at the Amex.
As a result, Grant was isolated, Pereira was almost anonymous on the right wing and I can’t work out where Jake Livermore was supposed to playing. It looked as if Krovinović was playing as the deepest of the midfield three with Conor Gallagher, one of the few to emerge from this game with credit, playing everywhere else.
Bilić’s substitutions were baffling. While I can understand bringing on Callum Robinson, the introduction of Romaine Sawyers was a very strange decision. That, coupled with the withdrawal of the admittedly well below par Pereira, left Albion with little hope of getting back into the game in my opinion. I’m not ready to completely write off Sawyers as a Premier League player, but he has shown little to suggest that he was the player who could change this game, and so it proved. If anything, Albion got worse as the second half wore on.
While the Baggies had looked more solid in the previous two games, the damning statistic is that they have scored just once in four games. Against Fulham, that defensive solidity was missing and both goals were eminently preventable even if it was a great strike for the second.
We were looking for a 90 minute performance from Albion and we didn’t even get 10 minutes when they looked to be the better side. Even with 55% possession, the Baggies looked second best to what had arguably been the division’s worse side so far this campaign.
It was a desperately disappointing evening, and the pressure is mounting as the wait for that first win goes on.
For a comparison of Albion’s start to previous Premier League seasons, click here