It is no secret that West Bromwich Albion have one of the worst defensive records in English football right now.
In fact, the Baggies are tied-bottom across the entire Premier League and Football League for goals conceded so far this season, and with a new striker on the horizon, Slaven Bilic will have to make do with what he’s got.
And one recent display should have alarm bells ringing in his ears.
The Croatian tinkered with a three-at-the-back formation early on in the campaign before switching back to the more familiar and promotion-winning 4-2-3-1 system.
Young Albion graduate Dara O’Shea has been ever-present regardless of the tactic deployed, he’s played both centre-back and at right-back, so evidently he’s a player that Bilic likes.
However, his Ireland performance on Wednesday evening should be a cause for concern as the Boys in Green lost to Finland in the UEFA Nations League – even if it was his senior debut.
Aside from the goalkeeper, the 21-year-old Baggies starlet recorded the lowest rating (6.4) in Stephen Kenny’s backline – per SofaScore, he won just 58% of his duels, lost possession 14 times, committed three fouls, was dribbled past twice and even made the error that led to Finland’s only goal of the game.
It was a woeful display all-round and not one that Bilic would have wanted to see before Monday’s clash with Burnley in the Premier League.
Neither O’Shea, Kyle Bartley or Semi Ajayi have averaged above a 6.35 rating in the top-flight this season, so a continuation of this disastrous form won’t be of any encouragement before Chris Wood’s revenge game at the Hawthorns.
Perhaps the Irishman’s place amongst the starting XI should now be at risk even though he’s adored by Bilic with Darnell Furlong waiting in the wings to take over on the right flank whilst there’s also Branislav Ivanovic for a central role.
Bilic has plenty to think about before the end of the weekend.
AND in other news, Baggies could be dealt a huge blow for Burnley clash…