Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge of West Brom ended in defeat at the hands of their arch-rivals at the Hawthorns on Sunday evening.
The Baggies were thrashed 3-0 by Aston Villa in their own back yard, condemning them to yet another game without victory, meaning the Midlands strugglers are now four points from safety going into Boxing Day.
After Anwar El Ghazi bagged the first goal of his brace in the fifth minute, things went from bad to worse for Albion as skipper Jake Livermore saw red for a challenge on Jack Grealish ten minutes before the break.
Some of the blame can be attributed to the 31-year-old veteran for the reckless manner in which he got sent off, but Big Sam has much more alarming matters right across his squad.
None more so than at right-wing where Matty Phillips put in one abysmal display in front of his new boss.
The former QPR dynamo won a paltry two of 15 duels (23%), failed to deliver a single accurate cross or long ball and made just 64% of his 14 passes, via SofaScore.
In 77 minutes on the pitch, the lightweight Baggies calamity managed just 27 touches whilst he lost possession 12 times.
BirminghamLive graded his performance a disastrous four out of ten, and claimed:
“Was blunted on the wings and wasn’t able to really affect the game in any way as Villa poured on the pressure in the first half. Had one decent chance to spring a counter in the second period but it fizzled out quickly.”
This complete no-show from the vastly-experienced 29-year-old only goes to just show how enormous of a task Allardyce has in turning around his sinking ship.
If he’s to start anywhere in January, then it’s got to be through the creation of chances on the flanks. Players like Phillips are clearly not up to the scratch of the Premier League.
Livermore may take the pelters after that silly tackle, but he was far from the being the major problem against Villa.