Sam Allardyce’s chances of keeping West Brom in the Premier League were dealt a devastating blow on Tuesday night as they were defeated by rock-bottom Sheffield United.
After taking the lead late in the first half through Matty Phillips, the Baggies let the home side come-from-behind to seal all three points at Bramall Lane, leaving them nine points adrift of safety and in a precarious position.
Initially, a direct approach seemed to be working for Big Sam with new signing Mbaye Diagne spearheading the attack, but that evidently went out the window in the second half as Chris Wilder’s men fought back from the brink.
Indeed, the Senegalese frontman, signed on loan from Galatasaray just last week, endured a nightmare of a display in what was his first start in English football.
As per SofaScore ratings, he graded as the worst player on the pitch with a diabolical 5.9 ratings – the only starter to receive a 6.4 or below for either team.
It’s no wonder Allardyce hauled him off just before the 70th-minute mark because the way he was playing was certainly not going to help them find that winner, or equaliser.
The 29-year-old target man was anything but. He won just one of three aerial duels (33%) and failed to win any of his six duels on the ground, meaning he lost a total of 89% of his battles. Lightweight and ineffective, considering his 6 foot 4 colossal frame.
It was a rude-awakening of what the English top-flight may bring as the Blades’ central defensive trio of Ethan Ampadu, John Egan and Chris Basham had the powerhouse in their pocket. with all three graded 7.2 or better, via SofaScore.
Diagne was also caught offside twice, the most of anyone on the pitch whilst he also managed only 21 touches and nine passes, which was fewer than Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone – it was an indication of just how much of a passenger Diagne was for the Baggies, and that spells trouble for Allardyce.
Valued at just £2.88m by Transfermarkt, the Galatasaray striker was brought in to improve their record in front of goal – only three other teams have scored fewer goals than Big Sam’s Baggies – and based on that nightmare evening alone, he’ll struggle to alleviate the problem.
Given Albion’s situation, Diagne needs to hit the ground running fast, so Tuesday’s anonymous outing will surely have Allardyce worried.
AND in other news, Baggies lightweight who lost possession 23x badly let Allardyce down…