I suspect long after the thousands of fans had departed St James’ Park on Sunday evening Steve Clarke took a walk into the four corners of the pitch and administered a wee piddle! Let’s face it, Albion’s luck has to change sometime this season.
We’ve all celebrated our best start to a Premier League season while our nearest rivals struggle to keep their heads above the relegation zone. However, the two late goals against Man City and Newcastle have brought a dark cloud over the Black Country. If Eden Dzeko’s goal was hard to swallow the week before, Papiss Cisse’s goal was nearby impossible. I mean come on, it came off his back!
In the last two games Albion have more than matched City and United – but have nothing to show for it. I’m sure Steve Clarke will take heart from positive performances against two of last season’s top six. But it’s the points column that matters.
The two defeats now put more significance on Monday’s game in front of the TV cameras against a struggling Southampton side. Make no mistake, Albion have to get something against the Saints. The hurt of three consecutive defeats would certainly mask over Albion’s flying start to Steve Clarke’s reign. It would also destroy confidence in the team and terraces.
The same thing happened when Roberto Di Matteo was here. We had a fantastic start but then imploded after a dramatic night next to the seaside when everything seemed to go against us.
One thing that will please Steve Clarke will be the number of players returning to fitness. Jerome Thomas, Chris Brunt and Billy Jones give the head coach a number of options ahead of the Southampton game. It’ll be interesting to see how Thomas is utilised under the new regime. At times under RDM he was a flying winger who was unstoppable in the Championship. Under Roy Hodgson he was shackled and we never saw the best of him. Hopefully Clarke will give JT the freedom he needs to play to his full potential.
Let’s hope by the time I write my next blog we’ll be celebrating another Albion home win.
COME ON YOU BAGGIES!
Can Albion end their luckless run against the Saints? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.