Terry Wills on Albion’s week.
Now what did I say last week. With results going for us a victory over Newcastle would be invaluable, or words to that effect. Sadly they fell on deaf ears with what was definitely the worst performance to date, set against an encouraging background .
First the unveiling of the Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown statue attended by none other than Denis Law, Tony’s all-time favourite player, who said that in today’s game he’d be worth £50 million. It was a fitting tribute for Albion’s greatest ever goalscorer; oh, to envisage the prospect of ever again seeing a player of his ilk wearing an Albion shirt.
On the same day came news that Saido Berahino had received a well-deserved call up to the senior England squad. Congratulations Saido, now celebrate by scoring against the visiting Geordies.
On to the game and a display that was truly abysmal apart from Lescott and Anichebe. Lack of pace, no width, sloppy passing, and any other negative you could envisage. This was a fact Alan Irvine freely acknowledged.
No game this week due to the international break, which will at least give Irvine a chance too work on the obvious weakness. He desperately needs a change of system-attacking down the flanks with pace. Getting players into the opposition penalty area instead of playing what Richard Sneekes described as “playing tippy tappy midfield football”. You don’t worry teams if the ball is in your half, so get it forward and apply pressure. All the possession in the world counts for nothing without a end result.
A major problem is that although Irvine does have several options open to him regarding team selection, there is one major drawback – he doesn’t have the luxury of selecting players with natural pace and under his apparent preferred style this is will continue to frustrate Albion supporters.
Finally, best of luck to Saido should he be awarded his first international cap against either Slovenia or Scotland, and what would be a bonus is seeing him scoring against our over the border rivals. Scotland versus England – a friendly in name only.