I was frustrated as any Baggies fan leaving the DW Stadium yesterday, but on reflection I think that it was more a case of Wigan blunting Albion which highlighted the known weaknesses in Darren Moore’s team.
The goal itself was a poor one to concede, with Hegazi bizarrely standing on the goalkeeper immediately beforehand and, by the time he got back in position and attempted to defend the long ball, he was still trying to recover from the sprint back. Furthermore, Tyrone Mears had switched off and allowed Windass to run through against the Egyptian.
As they have done all season, Albion put themselves under pressure by trying to play out under pressure, but I think Johnstone was particularly poor on the day in putting his defenders in trouble. The Latics press was very high and Livermore’s second yellow card was a perfect example.
Mears mistake was perhaps his only one of the day, but his lack of pace and ability on the ball leaves Albion’s right hand side largely impotent from an attacking point of view. It was hugely disappointing not to see Matt Phillips back in the squad and he is proving to be a huge miss, particularly in games like this one.
Albion’s problems all stemmed from Wigan’s approach to the game. Paul Cook’s team showed huge energy to put every Baggies player under pressure on the ball and, if the Albion man managed to get away, there was always an attempt to foul. The referee failed to really get a hold on the game as foul after foul was committed and it was resulting frustration at this situation that led to Livermore’s first yellow card.
Wigan’s high press, however, should have led to a change in approach as it left their back line open to the ball over the top. The pace of Barnes and Gayle was never seen as Johnstone persisted in playing out to the back three, and that is a lesson that Albion must learn, and learn quickly.
I also think that Edwards should have come on early in the second half to provide an outlet that Mears could not, and I probably would’ve brought Hoolahan on for Brunt as well as the Baggies’ skipper did not have a good afternoon and Wes could have offered a little bit more trickery that could have opened something up.
Ultimately, I don’t think we learned anything that we didn’t already know. Albion can be got at if you press them high, but they will normally find a way through at the other end. On this occasion, they didn’t.
However, the Baggies remain just a point off the top with two massive home games to come this week.
|* Positions are recorded as Albion’s position in the table after all fixtures for that day have been completed.|
|2000/2001||17/10/2000||Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)||W||1-0||Hughes (pen)|
|2001/2002||19/10/2001||Norwich City (A)||L||0-2|
|2003/2004||18/10/2003||Norwich City (H)||W||1-0||Koumas|
|2006/2007||22/10/2006||Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)||W||3-0||Greening, Kamara, Hartson (pen)|
|2007/2008||27/10/2007||Norwich City (H)||W||2-0||Miller, Phillips|
|2009/2010||20/10/2009||Swansea City (H)||L||0-1|
|2018/2019||20/10/2018||Wigan Athletic (A)||L||0-1|
|2000/2001||21/10/2000||Tranmere Rovers (A)||D||2-2||Hughes, Roberts|
|2001/2002||25/10/2001||Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)||D||1-1||Clement|
|2006/2007||28/10/2006||Birmingham City (A)||L||0-2|
|2007/2008||03/11/2007||Watford (A)||W||3-0||Miller, Phillips, Albrechtsen|
|2009/2010||24/10/2009||Coventry City (A)||D||0-0|
|2018/2019||24/10/2018||Derby County (H)|