West Brom were relegated back to the Championship after a shocking performance at Arsenal on Sunday evening, leaving Sam Allardyce plenty to ponder in the coming weeks.
It’s the 66-year-old’s first relegation and, if he’s to remain in the Albion dugout, some massive decisions will need to be made. This 3-1 defeat in north London may have provided some big clues, too.
The Baggies did not look like a team fighting for survival but rather a side coasting as if their fate had already reached a positive outcome. Indeed, they were completely outclassed, managing only 35% possession and one shot on target throughout the 90 minutes, a pathetic attempt to try and turn their fortunes around.
In the absence of Gunners loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Big Sam had to tinker his midfield and this saw a surprise inclusion for Matty Phillips alongside Conor Gallagher and Okay Yokuslu.
This wasn’t just damning on the likes of skipper Jake Livermore and Romaine Sawyers, as the former QPR winger’s performance highlighted that he may well be lucky to remain at the club for much longer.
As a central option, the 30-year-old should have frequently been involved in the game, being the link between defence and attack, but just 32 touches in 90 minutes would suggest otherwise.
By comparison, even Baggies goalkeeper Sam Johnstone (39) managed more, which is just not good enough when you absolutely need a result. Furthermore, just 11 accurate passes, or roughly one every nine minutes, is more evidence of the Scotsman being completely under par.
His anonymous showing turned into a weak one, too.
Phillips won just two of six duels (33%), was dribbled past twice and lost possession 11 times, via SofaScore. He effectively lost the ball as many times as he passed it, yet he remained on the pitch for the duration of the match.
The long-serving wide man has been at the club since 2016 but such performances have been a recurring theme, especially in the Premier League. Despite all of West Brom’s struggles, he still ranks amongst their worst performers with an average WhoScored rating of 6.35. That’s the worst average return of anyone to start on Sunday.
Overall, Phillips is just not good enough and it’s time for Allardyce – or whoever is in charge – to be bold and move him on in the summer.