I will try and avoid going into too much detail about the Swansea City defeat again, as hopefully most of you reading this will have just about been able to get over it during the last few days.
However, there is absolutely no doubt that a reaction is needed over the next few games after such an abysmal display.
For the first time since Roy Hodgson was appointed back in February, he got it totally wrong tactically. He could just about justify playing a 4-4-2 after the Norwich City game due to the fact that we got three points, but some of the substitutions he made, as well as his selection of James Morrison and to a lesser extent Jerome Thomas against the Swans, seemed to baffle the travelling Albion fans.
Thankfully, we have a game this evening (Wednesday) to try and put it right. It is only a Carling Cup tie, but I would like to think that Hodgson and the players will be taking it rather seriously after the woeful display they produced just four days previously.
The match sees us travel to Everton, who have started the season reasonably well despite not strengthening their squad significantly over the summer. Having watched highlights of their game at the weekend, they seemed to have two or three very talented players on the bench, who will probably be starting tonight. With this in mind, I think our players are going to have to play very well in order to get a result.
Different fans will have different opinions about who should play in the Carling Cup, with some supporters believing that Hodgson should effectively play the first team after our performance on Saturday.
Whilst I would be surprised if he did this, I would be slightly disappointed if Hodgson named exactly the same side as we played at Bournemouth. As much as they played well against the League One strugglers, it is obvious that tonight’s game is going to require a significantly better performance if we are to get through.
Despite this, I would still like to see the likes of George Thorne given a chance to show people what he is capable of against Premier League opposition. This could become even more important after the performance of Paul Scharner on Saturday, as I genuinely believe that there could well be a central midfield place up for grabs soon, which Thorne could be in contention for if he continues to impress when given the chance.
After tonight’s game, we play Fulham in the Premier League at The Hawthorns on Saturday. This game was always going to be interesting due to Hodgson’s association with our opponents, but it takes on added significance following the poor start to the season which both clubs have suffered.
As with the Norwich City game, I don’t want to get drawn in to saying that any match is a ‘must-win’ at this stage of the season, although I acknowledge that another negative result and poor performance would be incredibly bad for confidence and morale, both within the squad and within the fan base!
The key to a result could be Hodgson realising that certain players are simply not playing well enough at the moment, and that playing a 4-4-2 is not bringing the best out of anyone in the squad.
If Hodgson changes this, hopefully we can pick up a couple of positive results over the next few days and give ourselves something to build on for the rest of the season.
What side should play tonight against Everton? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.