West Brom edged one step closer to relegation despite Mbaye Diagne rescuing a point in the Black Country derby.
In truth, it was a game from which the Baggies needed a victory as they now sit ten points adrift of safety with only 12 left to play for, meaning they’ll need to win their four remaining matches to stand any chance of top-flight survival.
Given Albion have only won five times all season, it seems rather unlikely that they will be a Premier League outfit for much longer.
It was not the sort of performance you’d expect from a team fighting for their lives, and unfortunately for Sam Allardyce, several of his key men let him and the club down badly at The Hawthorns.
The Baggies were overrun in midfield and often second best to the ball, with the likes of Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker getting a full grip on proceedings, so part of the blame has to be attributed to the Arsenal loanee and his fellow midfielders for a weak showing.
Indeed, the 23-year-old gem struggled in his battles, losing nine of 11 duels (82%), whilst he was dribbled past on three occasions, thus making it quite easy for Wolves to dominate in the middle. By comparison, Dendoncker won 100% of his duels and Neves was given time and space to provide three key passes, as per SofaScore.
He even had fewer total touches (41) than Sam Johnstone (49) between the sticks, and that’s not an encouraging sign for someone who is supposed to dictate the game.
There’s no denying that the Arsenal man has undoubted potential but it is games like this where he should be shining, especially if he is to convince Mikel Arteta that he has a future back in north London.
The £16.2m-rated star, who earns a reported £35,000 per week, was handed a scathing review by the Express & Star‘s Joseph Masi in his post-game column, where he claimed the midfielder was ‘almost anonymous’ in the first half and ‘offered little going forward’.
It’s clear to see that Allardyce did not benefit from the quality of Maitland-Niles here and was badly let down despite being trusted to start in such a crucial role.
AND in other news, Exclusive: Pundit opens up on 53 y/o to West Brom rumour…