Monday, 23 May 2011

Drama free Final Day (well almost)

Mid table finish crack out the Champagne

 Yesterday amongst the drama of survival Saturday the Baggies travelled to Newcastle with nothing much at stake in 11th place. This is remarkably dull for a team that has over the last decade finished either 17th or below in the premiership or 6th or above in the Championship.

Frankly it is a position that looked very unlikely in February when DiMatteo was replaced by Hodgson. At that point we were sliding fast and another relegation looked very much on the cards. The chairman's decisive action in sacking RDM and appointing Roy Hodgson might with hindsight be a pivotal moment in the club's history. Without wishing to fall into results oriented analysis the appointment of Hodgson was a master stroke and without it we certainly would have been going to Newcastle needing something from the game to survive.

The game at St James Park was pretty typical of our season. Some pretty dreadful defending gifted Newcastle a 3:0 lead which was followed by an inspired comeback with Tchoyi sealing a point by completing a hat trick in the 90th minute.
We have won more points from losing positions this season than any other side in the premiership. This reflects our woeful defending which has resulted in just 2 clean sheets all season and the charactor of the players to comeback from some very unlikely situations.

It is appropriate that the team should sign off a rollercoaster season in typical fashion in 11th place. We have been as high as 4th and as low as 18th. There have been performances of breath taking quality (the Arsenal games and Liverpool at home for instance) and performances which left me at the brink despair (the Wigan and Blackburn games). However the same pattern has prevailed throughout going forward we have been lethal but we have never really looked that secure at the back. Roy managed to improve the side as a defensive unit but he will be working hard over the summer to improve this aspect of our play.

Overall a satisfactory conclusion to an excellent season. I am looking forward to next year with genuine optimism just another 80 odd days to go.

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