View: The slope is getting slippier - How West Brom can turn around form
West Brom suffered another setback in their bid for automatic promotion from the Championship yesterday (15 January) with a 1-0 defeat to QPR.
Baggies manager Valerien Ismael was satisfied with the performance despite coming away from the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium empty-handed but a performance isn’t enough.
The quality of players at Ismael’s disposal supersedes the majority of Championship squads and they should be much more in the fight for the title than they are right now.
With a squad as good as the Baggies’ fingers are understandably pointing at Ismael to explain the current problems and he has it in him to turn things around.
But to do that, he would have to go away from a tactic that worked so well at Barnsley last season and began this campaign in impressive style.
West Brom have exclusively fielded a defensive quintet this season and while that has seen them concede less than any other team in the league, their goal-scoring record is way below the best the Championship has to offer.
Maybe it is time to go away from the back five and return to a traditional four would see the extra body in attack make a huge difference.
Things were, admittedly, difficult for Ismael yesterday with Semi Ajayi, Cedric Kipre, Kyle Bartley and Dara O’Shea all absent central defenders which maybe forced him into playing Connor Townsend and Darnell Furlong in there.
But both Townsend and Furlong prefer to attack and they should be utilised in such a way. One could have been played in the centre of a traditional back four to allow the other to bomb forward from full-back.
The signing of Daryl Dike from Orlando City does at least give them a focal point in attack now but he needs to hit levels never seen by the second division to catch Fulham top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic whose hat-trick took him to 27 for the season.
In other West Brom news, a raid of Ismael’s former club could be imminent with a 22-year-old defender the number one aim.