Saturday saw us suffer arguably our most disappointing defeat of the season, as we lost 2-1 at home to Wigan Athletic.
A lot has been made of the fact that we have not beaten any of the top teams so far this season, but that we have generally won against the sides we should be looking for victories over. However, losing games against clubs like Wigan, particularly at home, puts us under a lot of pressure as we enter the busy festive period of fixtures looking for a couple of victories.
It had all started so well, with us being on the front foot during the opening exchanges and Steven Reid giving us the lead with an excellent 25-yard free-kick.
Unfortunately, we let the visitors back into the game immediately by allowing Victor Moses time to curl a loose ball in the penalty area into the top corner to equalise. Soon after half-time, a poor challenge by Reid on Moses in the penalty area ended with Jordi Gomez converting the spot-kick and inflicting our fifth home defeat of the season, a worrying stat whichever way you want to look at it.
Long way back
A drive home taking over three hours is never good after such a disappointing defeat, but it does allow you to reflect and try and get the result out of your system before returning to Sussex.
It would be wrong to spend much time talking about which players played reasonably well, because very few did. Reid was solid apart from conceding the penalty, Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley didn’t put a foot wrong at the heart of our defence, and James Morrison was once again very impressive in midfield.
This time last week, I was hoping that Roy Hodgson would start Peter Odemwingie alongside Shane Long and that their pace would cause a weak Wigan defence a number of problems. I could not have been more wrong, with Long being as quiet as he has been all season and Odemwingie simply not looking interested throughout the game.
Despite this poor performance, Hodgson seems keen to persevere with the Odemwingie-Long partnership, even though our next game at Blackburn Rovers is an encounter where we cannot afford to experiment with the starting line-up and hope for the best, which is going to be the case if Odemwingie retains his place in the side.
There may be some potential in the partnership, but now is probably not the best time to be experimenting with a system which has not served us well at all this season.
Tried and tested
I would like to see us return to a 4-5-1 on Saturday at Ewood Park, or possibly even the 4-2-3-1 which saw us pick up a number of impressive results towards the end of last season. My team would be:
Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Shorey, Mulumbu, Scharner, Dorrans, Morrison, Tchoyi, Long.
By using Graham Dorrans, James Morrison and Somen Tchoyi in an attacking midfield three, they would be able to interchange and cause the Blackburn defence problems by moving all over the pitch.
It is unlikely that Hodgson will make this many changes, as I fully expect Chris Brunt to remain in the side even after his recent poor form. To be totally honest, I would not be at all surprised if Hodgson actually names the same side which underperformed so disappointingly last Saturday.
A trip to Ewood Park is always a tough task, but hopefully the players will respond with a much-improved performance and pick up a positive result!
Do you think Odemwingie and Brunt should be dropped for the Blackburn game? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.