SussexBaggie speaks…Home form and the Black Country Derby
By Site Editor
Updated Wednesday, 8th February 2012
Tom Harper discusses Albion's defeat against Swansea and the short trip to Wolves
Last weekend saw us suffer yet another incredibly disappointing home defeat, this time losing 2-1 to Swansea City at The Hawthorns.
Due to the adverse weather which was forecast, and actually occurred around Oxford on Saturday evening, I was unable to make it to the game and so cannot really comment on it as a whole.
However, it sounds as though we once again failed to follow up an impressive away result with a good performance and result at home.
There has been a lot of talk about what is causing this poor home form when you compare it to our exceptional form on the road. Is it down to Roy Hodgson’s tactics? Could it be that the players don’t believe they have the full support of the crowd at The Hawthorns? Has it become a psychological problem which will not be resolved until we are able to scrape a result at home?
In my opinion, it’s a combination of all three really. The 4-4-2 system which Hodgson has deployed in pretty much every home game this season is simply not working, primarily because we end up leaving two or three very good midfield players on the bench when they could be in the starting line-up if we played five across the middle.
The atmosphere at The Hawthorns has been fairly flat during most games this season, although it is no coincidence that our best performances have led to the best atmospheres inside the ground.
I very much doubt the players look forward to playing at The Hawthorns at the moment, which has quite possibly led to our poor form being psychological in a way. However, it is down to the players themselves and the coaching staff to try and prevent this being the case and to ensure that if and when we do get a result at home, we can build on it and pick up results at The Hawthorns on a regular basis.
On the road
In contrast to our poor home form, our away form this season has been nothing short of superb. This was shown by yet another fine result on the road last Wednesday, when we came from behind to draw 1-1 at Fulham thanks to a late equaliser from Somen Tchoyi.
Our performance was not brilliant, but we defended well for much of the game and took the one genuine clear-cut chance we had to ensure we came away with a share of the points.
This weekend sees us make the short journey to Staffordshire, where we take on Wolves at Molineux.
This was always going to be a big game, both in terms of our survival chances, and because there are local bragging rights at stake.
I don’t live in the Midlands, so cannot really comment on whether there is a buzz around the area in the days leading up to a game like this. However, having seen some of the conversations taking place on Facebook, Twitter and various Albion messageboards, it is clear that for many supporters of both clubs, this is probably the biggest game of the season.
Earlier in the season, we beat Wolves 2-0 at The Hawthorns thanks to goals from Chris Brunt and Peter Odemwingie. This was probably the most convincing and dominant home performance I have seen this season, as we never looked like conceding and played some very good football during the last few minutes in particular.
This will definitely not be an easy game though, as they won their first game for several weeks at QPR on Saturday and have a manager in Mick McCarthy who will certainly have them motivated for this game.
However, if we continue producing the kind of performances we have done away from home on a fairly regular basis this season, hopefully we can pick up a positive result!
Can Albion reverse their home form and again win on the road at Wolves? Have your say at WBA-MAD's fans' forum here at Baggies Banter.