Chadli is what we’ve been waiting for
I haven’t got much to complain about regarding our game at Sunderland. Nacer Chadli has transformed the way we attack and we looked very dangerous going forward. Our main problem was putting the chances away. There were a lot of wasteful final balls, without which we would have won comfortably, in my opinion.
During the first half it amusingly looked like Albion v Albion. Sunderland just didn’t want the ball and were happy to sit back and for us to play in front of them. It was good to see that despite this we looked to try and play on the front foot and take the game to them.
Nacer Chadli is what we have been missing for quite a while; a quality number 10 who can provide that link between the midfield and attack. Based on his stats so far this season for us compared to his stats last season, it appears that the way Albion setup is very much suited to Chadli’s style. He has already become a fan favourite and long may his excellent form continue.
Everyone probably heard that we only took 700-750 supporters to this game. We did back the team throughout and there was even a rendition of “Tony Pulis’ Barmy Army” during the second half. Where away fans are based up in the gods at The Stadium of Light probably meant our support didn’t appear too loud to the rest of the stadium, but at least we tried.
Pulis’ post match comments praising the home fans has been interpreted by some as a dig at our own fans. I didn’t think Sunderland fans were that impressive. They appeared to be going through the motions until later in the game where a couple of huge roars went up when they realised they had a chance to get a result. However I would like Pulis to acknowledge the effort from our own fans more often. He may not care about empty seats, but he should care about showing appreciation to the ones who are there week in, week out.
Fans just didn’t fancy a 4 hour journey to Sunderland and back again when they didn’t know which Albion would turn up. I thought the game was very entertaining and we had some great spells of possession and slick passing in the first half. Hopefully if this kind of performance becomes the norm we will see fans coming back and making the effort for the longer distance away games.
The only thing I have got to moan about really is the timing and choice of substitutions. What exactly are Morrison and Robson-Kanu going to achieve when brought on in injury time?
I wish Pulis would be a bit more proactive in this area, as he always appears to be hesitant to change anything even when we can see that the pressure is building against us and we begin sitting back. Several times I have noticed he has had substitutes ready on the touchline and then we have conceded while he has hesitated.
As I say this is a small gripe in the grand scheme of things and I am very pleased with the overall performance against Sunderland.