If you could have predicted one fixture in the Premier League today to end in a 0-0 draw, it was always going to be West Bromwich Albion’s clash with Newcastle.
Both teams have been poor this season and consequently, this match was a relegation six-pointer. West Brom are currently in the relegation zone and a win today would have restored the gap to themselves and the Magpies.
Yet, in rather torrid fashion, they played out a goalless draw, a result that did neither side any favours on Sunday afternoon.
Sam Allardyce’s men kept their fourth successive clean sheet but were laboured in front of goal as they lacked the cutting edge necessary to see off Newcastle.
The man who typified their poor display this afternoon was Mbaye Diagne. Sporting eye-catching blue hair, that was about the most exciting thing on offer from him.
Diagne arrived in January on a loan deal and after scoring in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United, looked a solid acquisition. Though, as his performances of late are showing, he may not be up to scratch in the Premier League.
A number of players were dismal on Sunday, no less than Ainsley Maitland-Niles. His decision making was left wanting on a number of occasions in the middle of the park, but he was at least keen to drive his team forward, performing five dribbles.
The same cannot be said for Diagne. He didn’t offer much of a presence up top and made just 12 passes in the entire match. Though, most concerning of all was the Senegalese’s finishing ability.
Conor Townsend was rampant down the left-hand side but despite creating numerous chances for Albion’s striker, he didn’t tuck them away. Diagne’s movement was good but when the ball actually landed at his feet, he left Martin Dubravka with no reason to be fearful.
The winter signing fired a total of three attempts off target, costing Allardyce dearly in a game that meant so much to his team.
To make matters worse, he lost possession of the ball on 15 occasions. When you consider that he only touched it 33 times, it makes for pretty glum reading. Diagne was so poor that his tally of touches was actually fewer than goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
If West Brom want to stay in the division, they’ll need to find someone capable of scoring goals regularly sooner rather than later. Diagne doesn’t feel like the answer to their prayers.