Five talking points from West Brom's sixth straight defeat
Albion slumped to their sixth straight defeat on Saturday with a 1-0 loss at Watford. Here are five things we learned during the game and in the immediate aftermath.
Fight returns but it’s still not enough
After their unacceptable performance against Huddersfield, the Baggies at least showed some commitment in this game. This time, their undoing was a lack of quality.
They may have deserved to get something out of the match, but Salomon Rondon’s woeful finishing and simple mistakes in midfield and defence gifted Watford the win. The deflating thing is that the Hornets were there for the taking, but even though Albion huffed and puffed, they were unable to capitalise.
Fantastic fans determined to enjoy themselves regardless
Considering Albion haven’t won away in the league since August, the relentless noise from the sold-out away end was more than this team deserves.
The impromptu half-time rave was a joy to behold, and their energy from first to last minute nearly carried their team over the line.
Things have descended to farcical levels over the past few weeks, but instead of moping, the brilliant Baggie fans are treating their disappointment with laughter. Hats off to them, they deserve better.
Board have either given up or are scared to make another mistake
Keeping faith in Alan Pardew after six defeats in a row is an admittance of defeat. Even if it will be easier to attract the right man in the summer, with nine games to go, Albion could have tried one last roll of the dice this season.
Perhaps the board have realised that this group is going down whoever’s in charge, and so, on balance, there is no point to sacking Pardew. He might not go now until the end of the season, leaving Albion on a strange funeral march.
Past decisions come back to haunt the club
It was around this time last year that Albion turned down £30million for Salomon Rondon from Chinese club Tianjin Quanjin. And then, in January, they opted to take injury-prone Daniel Sturridge on loan instead of buying Troy Deeney from Watford (although Deeney’s contract demands didn’t help).
On Saturday, the difference between the two No.9s was stark. Rondon battles hard, and has improved under Pardew, but his legs turn to jelly in front of goal. Deeney, on the other hand, never looked like missing.
Apathy replaces anger as Albion start to accept their fate
The atmosphere was nowhere near as toxic as the away game at Huddersfield that did for Tony Pulis earlier this season, and that’s because the fans have come to terms with relegation. It seems like the board have too, because Pardew remains in his position.
This season has been written off, and even though Jonny Evans claims the players still believe, if that’s true, they’re the only ones left. The focus is now turning to how to best rebuild in the summer.