Sunk by the Riverside

Terry Wills watches Albion fail to make a splash at Fulham.

Last week I said I’d be happy with a point from the Baggies, visit to Craven Cottage, a ground where we haven’t won in a league game since 1967 (Yes, I was there). So why yet again did the Cottagers send Albion supporters home feeling they’d been victims of a fall into the River Thames, with passer-by ignoring the calls for help as we struggled to find lifebelts?

Simple, really. Roy Hodgson’s old boys were the better team in every department apart from one, Ben Foster eventually saving the Baggies’ goal difference from plunging into a minus figure. The defence looked, no was, uncomfortable whenever Fulham pushed forward, and that must have been far too often from Steve Clarke’s point of view.

The midfield were below par, while the attacking options posed little threat. Barely a clear-cut opportunity for their keeper to worry about- end of story. It was made worse, of course, by the outrageous Peter Odemwingie tackle, which in truth was a vicious kick that thankfully didn’t cause any permanent damage, but led to the red card being brandished and an automatic three match ban. Peter subsequently was man enough to apologise. “I lost my temper and apologise to my team mates and the supporters.”

In the past few days there have been rumblings as to whether and why Clarke chose the team that eventually trotted out seemingly full of confidence but left looking, and feeling, as dejected as the travelling faithful. Obviously he decides who should start and who should be warming the subs bench but Zoltan Gera or Romelu Lukaku must now be in line to start in the next two games?

First we face a struggling Reading team who are finding the Greed League uncompromising. They’re a team to be beaten and Albion should, I said should, be capable of making their current position unchanged. Shane Long has intimated he won’t celebrate if he scores against his old team. Fair enough, that appears to be the vogue these days and Baggies fans won’t worry about that although the Royals supporters will no doubt boo and jeer every time he gets the ball.

Then comes a midweek game against the side that saw us enjoy a flying start, Liverpool. Yes, they’re struggling but seeing them courtesy of TV at Sunderland they played some very good attacking football so it won’t be easy for the Baggies to ensure West Bromwich Albion ball is in the draw for the next round of the League Cup. After all despite Lois Suarez’s tendency to miss chances as if he’d taken out a copyright, he is a quality, if unpopular player who can win games providing chances come along. This he undoubtedly did on August 8th but September 26th is another date and another game. Fingers crossed; go to it Luis, keep up the good work. You know it makes sense.