West Brom lost ground on the top two in the Championship as they drew 1-1 with Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Valerien Ismael’s men enjoyed a brilliant start to the season but they now trail second-placed Fulham by six points. And, the way the team played against Boro will have concerned the boss.
Of course, a draw in isolation is never a disaster but Albion weren’t at their best as they needed a Grady Diangana effort to salvage a point after Josh Coburn had put the visitors ahead.
Here we look at THREE things we learnt from the game…
The recent form is a worry
For a side that wants to be winning promotion, standards have to be very high. So, a run of two wins in five, whilst not awful, isn’t good enough, which is why the other teams have pulled away.
In truth, the results are warranted as well, because the Baggies haven’t been great. To be fair to Ismael, he recognised that after the game but they need to improve if they’re to catch the top two.
They need to mix things up
The biggest criticism for most fans is the style of play.
Quite simply, the team are too direct and predictable, which was evident against Boro. Albion had over 70% possession but Neil Warnock’s side had a pretty easy afternoon defending as there was a lack of quality, with the hosts managing just four shots on goal.
There needs to be more focus on the build-up play and trying to create chances without going long straight away.
New signings are needed
Finally, this was further proof that Albion are still a few players short if you are comparing the team to the very best in the league.
They clearly need another striker to lead the line, which has to be the priority in the New Year, whilst Alex Mowatt’s absence has been significant, so they could do with more quality in the middle of the park.