It’s great to have football back, isn’t it? After a summer filled with transfer rumours and low-key friendly matches, our season kicked off with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Southampton thanks to a last-minute Ricky Lambert penalty.
In truth, we got what we deserved. We were second-best all over the pitch from start to finish and although Southampton played well, a better side would have taken advantage of such a lacklustre display and beaten us far more convincingly.
As a result, positives are few and far between. Billy Jones had a good game at right-back and should have been named Man of the Match in my opinion. Youssouf Mulumbu didn’t do a lot wrong until conceding the penalty that cost us the match, either.
Other than that, the majority of our players seemed to be playing with a pre-season mentality.
We were second to every loose ball, weak in the challenge and absolutely toothless going forward.
Unfortunately, I had a feeling we might struggle after seeing the starting line-up. Steve Clarke decided to go with a 4-4-2 formation, with four central midfielders across the middle of the park and the obviously fatigued Shane Long starting instead of Markus Rosenberg, who has been scoring goals for fun in pre-season.
I genuinely believe Clarke may have been trying to make a point to Chairman Jeremy Peace by playing two central midfielders out wide.
We desperately need to add width to our side and even though we appear to be edging closer to signing Scott Sinclair from Manchester City, it would be wrong to expect him to be the answer to all our problems.
I have always backed Peace and the club’s transfer policy. We are never going to break our transfer record three times in one summer as Cardiff City have done or spend over £20m on signing two players with no Premier League experience as Southampton have done.
However, there has to be some middle ground.
Whilst I am impressed with the additions we have made so far who have all improved the squad, I still think we could do with two wingers and cover/competition in central midfield.
An opening day defeat is not the end of the world – we lost our first three league games two years ago and went on to finish tenth – so anyone who claims that we are ‘doomed’ off the back of one competitive game this season is being unnecessarily pessimistic
But I do worry about how we will fare if we don’t add a winger or two to the side though, as we will face far better teams than Southampton this season, starting with a trip to Everton next Saturday.
A signing or two this week and a positive result next weekend can change the mood very quickly, so let’s hope we strengthen in the areas required and put in a much-improved display next weekend.
Do you think Albion need reinforcements ahead of the trip to Everton? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.