Five talking points from West Brom's 4-1 defeat to Leicester City
Albion collapsed to their seventh successive on Saturday, and ended up losing 4-1 to Leicester City. Here are five talking points from another dismal afternoon at The Hawthorns.
Alan Pardew has lost his grip
The discontent among the players has spread from the dressing room to the pitch and Grzegorz Krychowiak’s open revolt to his substitution speaks volumes about Pardew’s standing among his team. After seven successive defeats and controversies in Spain, Pardew does not have control of his players.
The board are keeping him for financial and strategic reasons, but he’s a lame duck leading a sorry band of men. Albion are drifting aimlessly towards the Championship and find themselves in a remarkably insidious position of deciding not to sack a head coach begging to be sacked. The club is in ruin.
Some of the players deserve just as much criticism
Pardew may have been a disaster but this group has now downed tools for two managers this season. There is an argument that heads drop because confidence is at an all-time low and the pressure is mounting, but these are professionals who should be able to deal with that. And the atmosphere wasn’t even that toxic on Saturday.
Those last 20 minutes were frankly, unacceptable. The players need to show a bit more pride in the shirt, because that’s the least they can give the fans after this dreadful season. Too few of them have been willing to step up.
Oliver Burke has potential but needs coaching
He has electric pace, the strength of an ox, and his unpredictability has the potential to be incredibly damaging. His assist for Rondon’s goal was executed brilliantly, and his one-twos up the wing were threatening.
But he’s unbelievably raw, and is in desperate need of positional and defensive coaching. He was also guilty of passing backwards too much and running into traffic, although that might be due to a lack of options ahead of him. There’s a great player in there though, if someone can just hone his skills properly. It would be nice to see more of him this season.
Defence struggling to keep it tight
Craig Dawson wasted his chance at his preferred position of centre-half. Not only did he let a straight ball over the top drop to Jamie Vardy, he was also outjumped in injury time by Vicente Iborra. Ahmed Hegazi was also at fault for the other two goals, letting Riyad Mahrez in behind him too easily before failing to pick up Kelechi Iheanacho.
Dawson’s chance of staying in the middle once Jonny Evans returns are slim, and Hegazi is making more and more positional errors by the week. With Gareth McAuley now 38 and Evans already with an eye on next season, the back line is in tatters.
Apathy will grow and crowds could plummet
The official attendance was 23,588 but there were plenty with tickets who stayed away. By the end, only a few thousand hardy souls remained. If this losing streak continues much longer, then we could see record lows in the Premier League at The Hawthorns.
The concern is that those who have been let down this season will not return for the next campaign. It’s going to take an inspirational appointment in the summer, some shrewd recruitment, and a good start to restore faith in those running the club. Because at the moment, faith is an all-time low and supporters are understandably turning their backs.