Terry Wills offers an Albion perspective on last night’s derby.
Question. Where do you begin in an attempt to describe the local derby between Albion and Villa? A game that’s being described as a thriller, containing every twist and turn as could be imagined?
Answer. First-yes it was a thriller, as would be any game containing seven goals – six in the first-half – numerous (as expected) controversial refereeing decisions and both sets of fans firmly chanting that their favourites were the Midlands’ best Greed League team.
But from a Baggies perspective, and possibly a Villa fan’s as well, I honestly believe that rather being labelled a Thriller, a more apt description would be A Comedy of Errors, so poor was the defending from both sides. However, there was another contributing factor. Read on.
En route to the game, tuned in to Radio WM, I was over the moon hearing that Agbonlahor wasn’t fit to play. Great news; he’s always been a thorn in our side, and with him missing, had Villa another player capable of causing similar problems?
Yes they had, and he was wearing a blue and white striped shirt. Enter Diego Lugano – exit any chance of gaining a point, or three, in a display that it’s difficult envisaging could be bettered.
But what a start; 2-0 ahead in nine minutes, first from our Goal of the Season by Chris Brunt, then an own goal. A rerun of the Hawthorns game when Villa pulled the deficit and escaped with a point? Lightning couldn’t
strike twice, could it?
It could .Shoddy defending, and at the centre Mr Lugano, outpaced whenever Villa threatened. Poor marking, gave away a stupid penalty, enabling Benteke to score the eventual winning goal, while at the other end missing a sitter from a clear-cut heading opportunity.
A somewhat reluctant fair play to Villa. To win any game after being two down has to be cause for celebration. But I repeat, without the help of Diego Lugano, I doubt if the noisy, vociferous, Baggies supporters would have left as bitterly disappointed as yours truly.
Any new Head Coach has to be given time to prove if his team selections are the best available but they certainly weren’t for this game Lugano for Gareth McAuley, Steven Reid for Billy Jones. Come on Pepe, even with your limited language problem I’m sure you won’t have any difficulty in reading and hearing what fans, plus the local media, thought of these decisions.
Villa’s win has given them a very good chance of not being involved in a relegation dogfight, whereas Albion, without a massive turnaround in form and team selection will find themselves in the bottom three. Especially on current form, while wins by the likes of Sunderland and Crystal Palace gives them an excellent chance of staying up, which seemed unlikely a few weeks ago.
Next up, Sunday’s clash against Liverpool (ouch), with Messrs Suarez and Sturridge in goalscoring form. Sadly I can’t see any result, from another televised game, apart from the ‘Pool never walking alone back to
Merseyside complete with three points.
For all that…
Come on you Baggies.