The Blues started in a 4-2-3-1 setup with Coleman coming in for Rodwell on the right wth Osman slotting inside. The Baggies brought back Brunt and Scharner in their accustomed 4-4-2.
West Brom focused attacks down our problem left side, with Odemwingie making some great runs from the centre into pockets of space in behind Baines, catching Distin on the hop with great regularity. Distin is a massive unit and has been an ever present for the Blues this campaign, and whilst he has done a decent job I feel the praise he receives is sometimes overstated. For the 3rd game out of the last 4 he was directly culpable for a goal; at Man Utd his rash error left the backdoor open, last week a rash lunge opened the door for Silva and today some comedy defending gave the impressive Odemwingie the chance to tee up Mulumbu to give the midfielder back to back scoring games against the blues. Distin isn’t the only factor behind our defensive fragility this season, but he is certainly a contributory factor.
Everton were really sloppy throughout and WBA were first in most 50-50’s on the deck and in the air >winning 67% of the aerial duels to the Blues 33% and also winning 62% of their take on’s of opponents – the Blues in comparison succeeded with just 36% with Coleman failing with all 3 of his attempts to beat his man.
Skipper Phil Neville tweeted after the game that the display was the “Story of our season good and in control but no real cutting edge up top” whilst I would agree with the skipper (at this stage last season we had scored 8 more goals) our defensive record is arguably more of a factor in comparison to recent years with this campaign recording just 8 clean sheets in comparison to the Cup Final year of 2009 when we registered more than double (highlighted in yellow below)
Here is our record over the last 9 seasons >
The Blues again opted for Victor Anichebe up top, but surely after his woeful campaign the much maligned striker’s Goodison career is coming to an end. Anichebe has now recorded just 2 goals in 43 Premier League outings. There is no witch hunt here, I can see what he brings to the team in terms of physicality upfront and I have nothing against the kid, it’s just that he isn’t a Premier League striker; he simply doesn’t possess any goal threat whatsoever.
I can see the use in him being deployed at Old Trafford in games when its hard to get possession in opponents half and his presence can bring midfielders into play, but against a West Brom side who are on a Premier League record run of not keeping a clean sheet in their last 17 Premier League home games and with the ball penetrating their 18 yard box at regular intervals, this was a game a player who comes alive in the box such as Jermaine Beckford should have started.
It was more woe for the Blues here in a game which rounded our away campaign off in a remarkably symmetrical way – back in August an equally limp and feeble effort resulted in a 0-1 reverse at Blackburn. On a positive note the season ends next week.