A sublime finish from Matheus Pereira wasn’t enough for West Brom to bring any sort of returns back to the Hawthorns on Tuesday night.
Sam Allardyce’s Baggies squad were defeated 2-1 by his former club West Ham, just days after Sam picked up his first victory since he took the helm in mid-December.
Overall, Albion’s performance was satisfactory and gives them some hope towards a brighter future, but they still remain some five points from safety with the worst defensive record in the Premier League – by quite some margin.
He’d surely have loved to make a point to his boyhood club after they let him leave for £18m in the summer, too.
Instead, Big Sam turned to Kamil Grosicki for a third successive match in all competitions – only this time, it failed to pay dividends.
The Polish veteran has been given a lifeline at West Brom in recent weeks. In the summer, he was seconds away from sealing a move to Nottingham Forest, but as the paperwork was submitted too late, he had to remain at their Midlands rivals.
He’s also been linked with an exit during the current winter transfer window, though for now, he’s still here. But after his display in the capital, the 66-year-old may want to think again.
As per SofaScore, only one other Baggies player was given a worse rating than Grosicki’s 6.4 and he was hugely at fault for the Hammers’ opener, losing his man only for him to serve up a delightful cross for Jarrod Bowen to turn home.
Indeed both Vladimir Coufal and Bowen had the better of the 32-year-old throughout the 70 minutes he was on the pitch – the pair managed 7.2 and 6.6 ratings respectively.
Considering the £50k-per-week ace is supposed to be one of Big Sam’s main attacking outlets, he was wasteful and ineffective at left-wing – per SofaScore, he failed to provide an accurate cross from three attempts, leaving Callum Robinson to feed off very little, and won just one of seven duels (14%).
That only goes to show just how lightweight the winger was against the aforementioned Irons duo and how they constantly thwarted him at either end of the pitch. By comparison, Coufal (six) and Bowen (four) won ten times as many duels.
It now gives Allardyce plenty to think about with an encounter against Man City six days away. If Diangana isn’t fit, then someone else may need to step up to the plate.
Only one other Albion player (who has started two or more games) has recorded a worse average rating for the season than Grosicki’s 6.19 – perhaps the club ought to be looking to move him on after all, even despite once being dubbed “unplayable” by former teammate Jackson Irvine.
If Tuesday’s game is anything to go by, he may well not be cut out for the big time.