Stifling the Scouse

Terry Wills on Albion’s week.

Following defeat at Villa Park (thanks to a series of defensive errors) I , in company with most fans, was fearful as to what would happen when the high-flying Liverpool Reds, complete with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, arrived at the Hawthorns.

Frankly I couldn’t see a glimmer of hope. Another defeat and with the teams around picking up three points the day before, it was odds on we’d be a  step closer to the dreade relegation places.

Early signs were encouraging. But for the rest of the half the well- organised, disciplined Mersey outfit, buoyed by Sturridge’s goal, looked certain winners. I’d rarely known such a muted atmosphere. Albion’s chances of poaching an equaliser were virtually nil and that we weren’t losing by more than a single goal was a bonus in itself.

The new striking duo, Vydra and Berahino, posed little or no problems and  it wasn’t until Victor Anichebe, on as a substitute, made an appearance, adding  power, strength and aggression, that the game turned full circle. A misplaced pass, Anichibe pounced, we were level. Game on!

The crowd awoke from its slumbers. Youssof Mulumbu,Claudio Yacob and  Zoltan Gera began to dominate midfield comparable to Stephen Gerrard’s poise for the Pool. Yes , they still posed danger but thanks to Ben Foster, thwarting Suarez when he looked a certain scorer, we were also searching for a second and possible winning goal.

Some clever interpassing moves down both flanks; Billy Jones overlapping, Chris Brunt playing more like his old self. Final whistle and Baggies fans celebrating as if we’d won, a dramatic change of mood that appeared impossible to envisage at kick off.

Overall assesment – a defence vulnerable early on, minus Jonas Olsson replacedm due to injury, by Diego Lugano who coped adequately. Midfield -earlier comments. Strikers-  vast improvemen when Anichebe joined in the action, so all in all cause for hope that the real threat of relegation can be cast aside

It’s a massive game this week, away at a revitalised Crystal Palace with both clubs neck and neck in the lower regions of the table and desperate to win.

Naturally victory would be wonderful but what’s even more important is to avoid a defeat which would allowing Palace to gain another  three points advantage over the clutch of clubs in a similar position to Albion. Will Pepe risk blooding our new young Spanish striker in such an important
game? Possibly on the bench but unlikely in the starting line up.

We can only wait, see and wonder what will happen.

Come on you Baggies!