What was it I said last week? Oh yes, we’re almost there. Depending, of course, on Albion grabbing a point, or three, against Chelsea and other results going our way.
For 17 minutes we were indeed almost there. Peter Odemwingie opened the scoring with what subsequently turned out to be the best goal of the game, and all was right with the world until Albion’s defence reverted to playing as they did under Roberto Di Matteo.
Shocking ‘defending’ (and that’s being polite). Scott Carson uncertain in goal. Others, seemingly not knowing where to go and who to mark, simply gave any player wearing a luminous green shirt the freedom of the pitch, so much so that they must have been under the impression that Ashley Cole in particular was suffering from an infectious, contagious disease and should be avoided at all costs. In the end every Baggies fan had to acknowledge that Abramovich’s multi-million pound outfit were streets ahead in class and could have left with more than the eventual 3-1 victory.
The only consolation was that this was recognised as being the best Chelsea performance for weeks, and one which would have seen off far stronger teams than Roy Hodgson’s recently revived Baggies. Yet for all that there were plus points. Peter Odemwingie looking a quality striker, Jonas Olsson and Yousoff Mulumbu, solid, determined and fighting for every ball, while as late substitutes Carlos Vela and Somen Tchoyi, looked worthy of being very close to a place in the starting line-up.
Thankfully we didn’t lose any significant ground in the unenviable race to avoid relegation and we should still be relatively safe barring a major, no total disaster, in the remaining five games.
The first of these comes against another London side striving and determined to gain one of the four vital Champions League finishing positions – Tottenham Hotspur. A side known for playing quality football under Harry Redknapp’s guidance, they have quality players in all positions and in Gareth Bale the PFA Player of the Season. Yes, the odds against Albion pulling off what would be a major surprise have to be long, but should they be on top form and grab any goal-scoring opportunities that come along, who knows they may pull of a surprise.
Personally I can’t see us grabbing a result but should we lose then the next opportunity to take us almost there will come in the next home game against….Aston Villa! But that can wait for now as we head towards White Hart Lane, which if sees Spurs at their very best will probably resemble an aptly named ‘White Hot Lane.’
But whatever happens one thing’s for sure. Albion fans, who have snapped up every available ticket, will be there urging them on hoping to see a shock result.
Come on you Baggies