Hammering the Canaries?

Terry Wills ponders on Albion’s pre-Xmas blip.

West Bromwich Albion HawthornsA packed Metro tram travelling from Snow Hill to the Hawthorns jam packed with Baggies and West Ham fans singing, if you can call it that (!) their respective club anthems.

“The Lord’s my Shepherd’ I’ll not want” and ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air, they fly so high nearly each the sky then like my dreams they fade and die.”

The vocal clash ended in stalemate as did the ensuing tedious 94 minutes of football tedium. Neither side did enough to harvest the badly needed three points – Baggies started brightly and certainly had the better of the second half but as a counterbalance the Hammers always looked dangerous on the break, giving the impression they could possibly snatch a winner.

So what’s gone wrong with Steve Clarke’s side that after four consecutive victories have done an about face, without a win in another four matches and worryingly only scored one goal? It’s palpably obvious that teams have sussed out how to frustrate Albion’s style of play. Sit back, defend in depth, and try to catch them on the break. Sam Allardyce is a worldwide manager who knows exactly what tactics to adopt and they did it perfectly.

Far too many players were way below form and the usual raucous chants of ‘”Boing Boing” were prominent by their absence from a very disappointed crowd of Albion supporters. The passing game has been overtaken, in my opinion, by a tendency to use too many long balls. This I can accept and expect from a certain, and you know who I mean, team managed by Tony Pullis.

Now seventh in the table, and a series of difficult games looming on the horizon. Starting with a very confident in form Norwich City at the Hawthorns-this will be a test of character and resolve. Steve Clarke and his players have stressed that they’re confident that things will improve and they are not particularly concerned at the current lack of points gathering.

Well,  they may not be but I can assure them that Baggies fans definitely hold at contrary view but optimistically hope the slump can be rectified by win’s starting against Norwich. On reflection concerning the singing on the Metro (that was almost as bad as that on the awful X Factor) I can’t but muse that the Cockneys’ assertion that “Then like my dreams they fade and die” could be more suited to those Baggies supporters who very optimistically, were expressing hopes that we could at least finish in a European spot.

Of course there’s still a long way to go before season’s end, and they could prove the critics wrong. But if so it will need a rapid return to top form to leave the clash between the Throstles and the Canaries determining which club have chirped the loudest at the final whistle.

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