It’s been hard to find anything to complain about if you’re a West Brom fan this season.
Indeed, the Baggies have rarely put a foot wrong this term, losing just five league games since the opening day, and even the most cynical Albion supporter has to be quite happy with what they’ve seen.
However, you’ll always have fans desperate to have a grumble about something, and this season the Baggies’ biggest scapegoat has been Charlie Austin.
Eight league goals isn’t the type of return you’d expect in the Championship from a man who once netted 18 in the top-flight for QPR, but a deeper look at the stats shows he’s actually not been as bad as the fan reaction would suggest.
Austin old school striker that needs to play in a 2. He cant hold it up he dont run channels he not suited to modern football we need shot whatever level we are at next year
— Andrew Beech (@beechyboy90) March 3, 2020
Couldn’t have said it better Austin is finished for me what’s wrong with him?? Krovinovic was absolute immense
— Andrew Grainger (@kingofchezo_WBA) March 3, 2020
Boiler man > charlie austin #wba
— Luke Rowland (@LukeRowland015) March 3, 2020
Because Charlie Austin doesn’t have the energy or legs to play in this system, simple really.
— Stefan (@StefanHatton1) February 23, 2020
For one reason or another, the striker has seen his gametime limited this season, and when he has come on he’s done very little wrong, yet somehow he’s still drawn the ire of the fanbase on more than one occasion.
The blame for his lack of goals this season doesn’t land at his feet – a goal every 141 minutes is a more than respectable record – and the man to blame in this situation is Slaven Bilic as the Croatian hasn’t started him enough for him to get his numbers to where he’d want them to be.
Of course, Bilic sees Austin train day in day out and knows more than us about how he gets on behind closed doors, but his minutes per goal ratio certainly suggests that he hasn’t been as bad as many are making out.
£70k-a-week makes Austin a costly player, and fans have every right to be frustrated at that wage, but if you look at it purely from a footballing standpoint, there shouldn’t be too many complaints about the former Southampton man’s first season at The Hawthorns.
In other news, promotion could be worth less to both Leeds and WBA…