I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who was surprised at the sweeping changes Steve Clarke made to the starting line up on Saturday against Stoke. While it made sense to recall the likes of Shane Long and Steven Reid the inclusion of Markus Rosenberg and the omission of James Morrison raised eyebrows.
Markus Rosenberg has been underwhelming to say the least in the early part of his Albion career. Although he has only featured towards the end of games he doesn’t seem to have the physical or technical attributes to succeed in the Premier League. Too often he’s ducked out of challenges or lost control of the ball with his first touch. A debut against a rugged Stoke outfit wouldn’t have been his ideal first start I’m sure.
As expected the game passed Rosenberg by whilst Jimmy Morrison set getting cold on the bench. Rosenberg failed to replicate the driving runs Morrison provides from midfield and the link to Shane Long and the rest of the side. It was a disappointing performance and it was no surprised when Clarke decided enough was enough just after the hour mark.
This isn’t a personal attack on the Swedish striker. He wasn’t the only one who failed to shine against the Neanderthals from Staffordshire. Neither Youssouf Mulumbu nor Claudio Yacob were able to impose themselves on the game. The same could be said of Dorrans, Gera, Olsson and McAuley.
It was blindingly obvious what was going to happen against Stoke. In fact, it was a case of déjà vu from last season at The Hawthorns where we enjoyed large spells of possession but were unable to score and paid the price for one defensive lapse in concentration. It was a hugely frustrating afternoon. The one positive I can take out of the game is that I won’t have to watch them at The Hawthorns again this season. Being a season ticket holder at The Britannia must be like being in sent to Guantanamo Bay for nine months.
Saturday at Arsenal brings different challenges – albeit for different reasons. After consecutive defeats Clarke has to find a side capable of getting a result at The Emirates. Fingers crossed it’s a case of we’ve done it before, we’ll do it again.
COME ON YOU BAGGIES
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