Considering last night’s game was viewed by the vast majority as nothing more than a free hit, it is certainly disconcerting to feel so dejected about football in the aftermath of it. The most that any football fan will ask of their players is maximum effort but this was sadly not the case last night. The game wasn’t without controversy, with large questions raised over the decision taken by the lineswoman to lift her flag during a phase of play, ultimately leading to several Albion players stopping in expectance of play to cease. Despite this, footballers are taught as soon as U7s football to play to the whistle; the referee saw no reason to stop and therefore didn’t. If all of the Albion players continued to play in the same way that the City players did then the scoreline may have remained at 1-0 at that point.
The reality is that Albion were by far the inferior side on the night and the result cannot be questioned at all. The biggest difference between the two sets of players was will and desire. For me, this was summed up in the aforementioned second City goal – the Albion defence were quick to take a rest at any given opportunity, the same cannot be said for the men in sky blue. There has been a wide range of opinions raised over social media following the game, with many players criticised. Romaine Sawyers has seemed to take the brunt of this which is unfortunate – I am in no way saying that he has been up to scratch this season but it is disappointing to see him singled out on a night where nobody could really leave the field with any pride.
Albion’s defensive frailties were exploited several times throughout the night and City rarely got out of second gear. The frustration was felt by everybody in associated with the club, most notably the manager – after an hour long debrief with the players, he finally met with the press to say: “Hopefully, we will learn from it and we won’t see it again between now and the end of the season. I can accept defeat but not like that.”
Up next for Albion is Fulham on Saturday, which if it wasn’t already is now an absolute must win. After a shocking performance at Craven Cottage the players must rectify this and pick up a vital 3 points.