West Brom’s weakness this season has been against pace. It’s caught their defence out time and time again. Therefore, Dean Smith’s decision to start Andre Green in a game which was likely to be open looked a wise one.
The winger has been rather enigmatic since coming back to Aston Villa after a loan spell with Portsmouth, but in the club’s play-off win on penalties against Albion he was particularly poor.
Green didn’t start the first leg. Instead, Albert Adomah was preferred. The two wide men then swapped places on Tuesday night but it was a call that backfired.
The 20-year-old looked a good choice on paper. West Brom needed to score and Green would have been a fantastic option on the counter-attack with space in behind.
He stretched Leeds to near devastating effect when he tormented Stuart Dallas at the back end of April, however, didn’t turn in anywhere near the same level of performance at the Hawthorns.
In truth, Green was incredibly poor and after this performance is highly unlikely to start in the play-off final later in the month.
It was hardly a surprise, therefore, to see him substituted after 75 minutes.
Villa didn’t do much attacking throughout the game as the Baggies found themselves on the front foot instead. When the visitors did go forward, he never once looked to get at his man. The only time he did find a bit of space, he was dispossessed.
Since returning in January, Green has scored just once for the Villans. He’s clearly got the talent but this display showed just how out of his depth he is at a higher level.
Another loan spell could be exactly what he needs to find confidence again next term and if Villa go up, it’s a near certainty he wouldn’t have the quality for the Premier League.
The youngster has shown glimpses of how dangerous he can be, but his play-off display was deeply concerning.