Former West Brom loanee Dwight Gayle piled on the misery and indeed the pressure of under-fire Baggies boss Slaven Bilic as Newcastle United came out victorious at St James’ Park.
The home side took the lead within 20 seconds after Joelinton found Miguel Almiron free inside Albion’s penalty box before Darnell Furlong’s half-volley five minutes after the break put things back at all-square.
But it wasn’t to be as Gayle came off the bench to head home the winner for the Magpies eight minutes from time.
In the lead-up to the crunch match, reports suggested that Bilic’s job was under the spotlight after last weekend’s embarrassment and his players did him no favours this afternoon.
Many supporters were quick to lay blame at the feet of Romaine Sawyers for his anonymous and lightweight showing, but there was another player who far worse and arguably deserves every bit of the criticism.
Premier League veteran and skipper for the day, Branislav Ivanovic was found wanting for United’s opener and he was beaten by all 5 foot 9 of the ex-Baggies sensation for the winner.
The 36-year-old showed signs of his age, winning just one of six duels (16%) whilst he also committed two fouls, was dribbled past once and managed only one tackle all game, via SofaScore.
BirminghamLive reporter Joseph Chapman was particularly scathing in his post-match ratings, handing the Serbian a paltry four out of ten.
“A dreadful start when he was caught out by Wilson – he could’ve cut the danger out way before the goal was scored. There were other moments in the first half where Ivanovic found Newcastle’s front-line more than a handful, and then the diminutive Gayle escaped his and the Albion defence’s attentions.”
Indeed it was an absolutely pathetic showing from a two-time winner of this division. In a game which he should have been someone to rely on, he was merely the opposite.
On the other hand, Sawyers did his job well, managing to make 90% of his passes, winning five of six ground duels and recording three tackles, also per SofaScore.
If Bilic receives his P45 tomorrow, then Ivanovic should hang his head in shame.
AND in other news, Dowling should’ve signed £27m-rated “constant nuisance” over Grant…