Sam Allardyce said West Brom are “pricking up people’s ears” after they made it back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time this season with victory over Southampton.
Two goals in three first-half minutes through Matheus Pereira and Matt Phillips put Allardyce’s men in control at the Hawthorns before Callum Robinson’s fine finish completed the Baggies’ biggest home win in the Premier League since November 2016.
“It is one of many top quality performances over the past eight or 10 games but we haven’t received the credit because we didn’t win,” Allardyce said. “We have missed out on many points due to our poor finishing.
“We have had two very important wins but unfortunately we have to rely on other people losing.
“But we are still fighting.”
The victory was made more admirable by the fact West Brom needed to rally after having what would have been an opening goal for Mbaye Diagne controversially ruled out for offside after video assistant referee Kevin Friend decided there was insufficient evidence to overturn the on-pitch decision, even though TV replays suggested otherwise.
Sam Johnstone completed an excellent evening for West Brom when he turned away James Ward-Prowse’s injury-time penalty.
West Brom are still in deep trouble, eight points adrift of fourth-bottom Newcastle with seven games remaining.
However, if they meet many more sides as accommodating as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton were in a dismal opening period, another of Allardyce’s great escapes cannot be discounted.
“It gives the players hope and belief,” added the former England boss.
“We have slipped up in front of goal too much. We would be on the 30-point mark now if we had taken our chances.
“We have got it down to eight points but games are running out.”
When they trailed 1-0 at Chelsea on 3 April, West Brom looked certain to complete a swift return to the Championship.
But after their incredible five goals at Stamford Bridge, Allardyce’s side continued their offensive bombardment at the Hawthorns.
West Brom had 13 of the first half’s 18 shots and with Pereira scheming and Diagne a major threat, they attacked with a conviction absent for most of the season.
Pereira earned the right to take the spot-kick after he had been brought down by Fraser Forster as he tried to step round the former England keeper.
Diagne may be having little fortune when it comes to scoring himself – but his cross for Phillips’ second, curling low to the far post after Danny Ings had gifted possession deep in the Southampton half – invited the first-time finish.
Although West Brom were more cautious after the interval, they still created chances and Robinson made it three goals in two games when he strode onto Okay Yokuslu’s pass midway through the second half.
Amazingly, of the 17 league goals West Brom have scored in 2021, eight of them have come in their last two games.
Allardyce added: “Now they are winning they are getting the praise they deserve but they have deserved that for many, many games.
“It’s not a big chance [of survival], just a hope that we keep winning and hope the other teams lose, that’s all we can do.”
In his programme notes, Allardyce mentioned that he said before the Chelsea game that his team needed six wins from their last nine games to have a chance of staying up. They have reduced that to four from seven.
If anyone knows how to attain survival from this position, it is Allardyce.
More VAR controversy
It has not been the greatest round of matches for VAR when it comes to trust.
By now, we are used to the way lines are used to determine who is onside and who is not. It is also commonplace for ultra-fine margins to decide whether goals should be given or not.
But after controversies involving Wolves, Liverpool and Manchester United over the past three days, on this occasion, the technology was condemned for not being able to allow the officials to reach a conclusion.
With Kevin Friend and assistant Simon Beck trying and failing to decide whether Diagne’s upper body was offside, they went for the footballing equivalent of cricket’s ‘umpire’s call’, which felt unsatisfactory given the investment that has been made in the technology.
Recent wins over Sheffield United and Burnley have provided Southampton with an element of breathing space in their slide down the table.
Even with this result they are 10 points clear of the relegation zone, which should allow them to prepare for Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Leicester at Wembley with clear heads, although Ralph Hasenhuttl said his side will have “no chance” against the Foxes if they perform like they did at the Hawthorns.
“We missed everything that is normally part of our game,” he said. “When you make it that easy for your opponent it is not a surprise you are 2-0 down.
“We are all responsible for performances like this. If we play like this we have no chance on Sunday.
“This was a chance to get some self confidence ahead of the weekend. We didn’t take it.”
They did threaten in the first half, with Kyle Walker-Peters drawing a save out of Johnstone with a decent angled effort to the near-post.
Johnstone was tested more by Stuart Armstrong’s effort from the edge of the area and the West Brom keeper’s reactions were up to the task when the corner ended up hitting Ings and flying towards goal from close range.
Southampton did have far more of the ball after half-time as their hosts adopted a more conservative approach.
But they never looked capable of emulating their Burnley win by recovering from a two-goal deficit, and when Ward-Prowse had his stoppage-time penalty saved, it set the seal on another disappointing performance.
We weren’t sharp enough – what they said
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, speaking to BBC Sport: “When the first duel was lost you could see we weren’t sharp enough to compete with a team like West Brom.
“Our best 25 minutes were at the start of the second half but it was not enough. We made changes but we were gone by that point.
“The message is clear, when you want to be successful you have to show a different face.”
On the early VAR offside decision: “Normally the offside decisions are the easiest, it is yes or no. Maybe they did not have enough cameras. I don’t know. It is easy to solve.”
West Brom boss Allardyce, speaking to BBC Sport: “The performance in the first half probably warranted more than 2-0. I warned them about the changes Southampton would make and I think they did better, but probably on the back of a lot of our sloppy passes giving the ball away.
“Our defensive unit has been good for a long time and that shows why we are winning football matches. It’s resilient, won’t give much away and that’s been a long time coming for this club from when I first started when five, three and four were going in.
“That gives us the platform to break away and score the third goal to finish the game off.”
Southampton’s poor 2021 continues – the stats
- Southampton have picked up just 10 points in 15 Premier League games in 2021 (W3 D1 L11), fewer than any other side in this period.
- No manager has beaten Southampton with more teams in the Premier League than West Brom’s Sam Allardyce (three clubs – level with Claudio Ranieri, George Graham, Graeme Souness, Harry Redknapp, Joe Royle, Jose Mourinho).
- West Brom have scored three or more goals in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since February 2012 (5-1 v Wolves & 4-0 v Sunderland).
- West Brom registered 13 shots in the first half against Southampton, last attempting more in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League game in February 2012 against Wolves (16).
- No side has conceded more goals via the penalty spot in the Premier League this season than Southampton (seven).
- Since joining the club in 2016-17, Matt Phillips has scored more league goals than any other player currently at the West Brom (20).
- West Brom’s Callum Robinson has scored three goals in his last two Premier League appearances, as many as he had scored in his previous 41 in the competition – this was his first Premier League goal not scored against Chelsea, against whom he has scored five times.
- Only Peter Odemwingie (22 in 2010-11), Romelu Lukaku (21 in 2012-13) and Saido Berahino (15 in 2014-15) have had a hand in more goals in a Premier League campaign for West Brom than Matheus Pereira in 2020-21 (13 – 8 goals, 5 assists).
- Sam Johnstone became the first West Brom goalkeeper to save a penalty in the Premier League since Boaz Myhill against Manchester United in May 2015.
West Brom are next in action at Leicester on Thursday, 22 April (20:00 BST). Southampton’s next match is also against Leicester, on Sunday, 18 April at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final (18:30). Saints’ next league game is at Tottenham on Wednesday, 21 April (18:00).
West Bromwich Albion
- 5BartleySubstituted forAjayiat 85′minutes
- 7RobinsonSubstituted forGallagherat 72′minutes
- 12Costa Pereira
- 17DiagneSubstituted forRobson-Kanuat 76′minutes
- 2Walker-PetersSubstituted forDjenepoat 87′minutes
- 32WalcottSubstituted forAdamsat 76′minutes
- 8Ward-ProwseBooked at 37mins
- 9IngsSubstituted forTellaat 87′minutes
Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 3, Southampton 0.
Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 3, Southampton 0.
Foul by Nathan Tella (Southampton).
Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Jan Bednarek (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion).
Attempt missed. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.
Moussa Djenepo (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion).
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Sam Johnstone.
Penalty saved! James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom left corner.
Penalty Southampton. Moussa Djenepo draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Conor Townsend (West Bromwich Albion) after a foul in the penalty area.
Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Hal Robson-Kanu tries a through ball, but Matt Phillips is caught offside.
Foul by Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton).
Conor Gallagher (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Moussa Djenepo (Southampton) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Ainsley Maitland-Niles (West Bromwich Albion).
Attempt missed. Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Semi Ajayi.