The performance against West Brom was without a doubt an improvement over the one against Crystal Palace, at least in a defensive sense.
But that said, I still wasn’t 100% convinced as we still looked shaky at the worst of times, although to be fair, John O’Shea being recalled in the centre of the defence alongside Lamine Kone made us look more assured.
Going forward I’m struggling to pick out many positives even though we did manage to score in the last 10 minutes. Jermain Defoe missed a glorious chance in the opening stages which should have given us the lead really but he’s one player who you can’t really criticise generally - he is human, after all.
Other than that early chance I felt we looked really poor going forward, though that could be down to West Brom’s predictably solid defending.
We did improve in the final third when goalscorer Patrick van Aanholt came on for Jan Kirchhoff. I was watching him on Saturday and wondering whether he was playing as a wing-back (which would probably be his best position in this side) or if he was playing as a winger – something I’d be interested to try out.
I know chances are we won’t try him as a forward player in the Premier League but maybe when we play Southampton in the cup in a few weeks time where there is no league points at stake, it’s worth a shot. Who knows?
On a more positive note, one thing I did take from the West Brom game is the lads didn’t give up and kept battling their way to get a point. For me, the real killer was the Crystal Palace game and if we’d have won that match, then a draw on Saturday wouldn’t have been seen as a poor result in my opinion.
But the players must make sure that the battling qualities displayed against West Brom are not just a one-off thing. We need to display that, with a bit more attacking urgency and intensity, when we do go behind on a consistent basis.
As for David Moyes, I am still prepared to give him time but like I’ve mentioned before, I will be seriously worried if by the time we’ve played Hull at the Stadium of Light if we haven’t won at least two of the next five fixtures. That said, I am waiting to properly judge him until then because we still haven’t had the easiest of starts.
Since I wrote last week’s blog we’ve had Sam Allardyce leave his role as England manager.
I won’t go into what’s happened because we’ve seen it all but all I will say is it’s sad that he’s worked his way up to the England job and then lose it in that fashion. As someone who has studied Sports Journalism, I didn’t particularly like how the Telegraph went about their investigation but it is a public interest issue and they are justified in what they did because that information probably couldn’t have been obtained any other way.
What really ticks me off is all we have been through over the last two months – our poor start to the season, the change of manager, the amount of time that the FA cost us in the transfer market – has been for only one England game. It feels like a real big kick in the stomach to me.
Nevertheless we can’t do anything about it now. All we can do is get behind Moyes and the players. Hopefully the way we salvaged a half-respectable result from the West Brom game with a late equaliser will be a platform to build on.