Terry Wills on the Albion’s schizophrenic week.
Just what is it about Albion that leads supporters to plumb the depths of despair after one game , yet just three days later produces an entirely different scenario against one of the favourites for the Greed League title?
I’ll gloss over the defeat against Crystal Palace as will all Albion fans. Suffice to say that following a horrendous first half and an appalling defensive performance that eventually cost them the chance of poaching a point, they at least rallied sufficiently to cause Tony Pullis’ team problems. Indeed if yet another dubious penalty hadn’t been giftedto Palace, they may well have salvaged a draw.
However , one positive fact to emerge was the debut of Theivy Bifouma (another ‘magic’ name to conjure with); pace, skill and enthusiasm were highlighted as he scored a mere 36 seconds after making his debut as a second half substitute.
Three days on, Chelsea at the Hawthorns. Ready, willing, and surely able to claim the three points that would take them top of the Greed League table . Jose Mourinho’s multi-millions assembled squad were overwhelming favourites so why not stay at home? It’s bitterly cold, blowing a gale, and starting to snow . What better reasons could there be ?
The answer, of course, is that I’d followed the Throstles/Baggies for more years than I care to remember and if there was to be an upset I aimed to be there to see it.
A bold gamble, Pepe Mel choosing a 4-4-2 formation with Saudi and Thievy up front. The one decision I didn’t share was naming Yousoff Mulumbu among the substitutes. First half Chelsea enjoyed the majority of possession, but with a defence as far removed from the Palace display as could be imagined. They restricted all attempts to break them down and were unfortunate to fall behind on the stroke of half-time, albeit as slack marking presented the
opportunity. Second half , the introduction of Victor Anichebe and what a change. Albion bombed forward, looking capable of netting an equaliser but with just four minutes left it appeared they’d run out of time.
With the crowd in full voice for the second home game running Anichebe scored a deserved equaliser. Six added minutes, could we snatch a winner? We couldn’t but neither could they. The point was enough to keep Pepe’s team off the bottom spot, and with mixed results from the other struggling sides I espied a chance the Baggies could eventually secure a position above the bottom three teams that could find themselves playing division
two (sorry,Championship) football next season . It won’t be easy but a continuation of that second half display would present an excellent chance of survival.
No game this week The team are off to Sunny Spain – lucky devils – to recharge their batteries before the vital home game against Fulham. What are we likely to see then? As said earlier not knowing which Albion team will turn up is the problem. Let’s hope it’s the Chelsea, and not the Crystal Palace, one.
Come on you Baggies.