SAM ALLARDYCE must create historical past if he’s to keep away from struggling his first ever relegation after his 10-man West Brom crashed to a crushing dwelling defeat on his debut.
Anwar El Ghazi’s early opener put Aston Villa within the driving seat and the floodgates ought to have opened when skipper Jake Livermore was despatched off for a foul on Jack Grealish 10 minutes earlier than the break.
Sam Allardyce couldn’t spark an immediate turnaround after taking the West Brom hotseatCredit score: Getty Photographs – Getty
Jake Livermore’s purple card set the Baggies up for a 3rd defeat in 4 with a first-half dismissalCredit score: Reuters
Nonetheless Villa missed a string of probabilities and it took them till the final 10 minutes to place Massive Sam out of his distress with additional targets from Bertrand Traore and a second El Ghazi strike, this time from the penalty spot.
It was the primary time Allardyce had misplaced at dwelling in his first recreation answerable for a brand new membership.
Extra worryingly, the Baggies’ tally of seven factors after 13 matches is an ominous signal – as no team has ever avoided relegation after accumulating fewer than eight factors from 14 fixtures of a Premier League season.
Massive Sam had solely managed three coaching classes along with his new squad and might be determined to get again to the coaching floor on Monday.
Albion got here into this recreation on the again of a gutsy draw at Manchester City on Tuesday which ought to have put a recent boing, boing of their step.
However that concept was quickly uncovered as fanciful and, regardless of deciding on the identical beginning XI Bilic had trusted at Metropolis, the brand new gaffer was in for a impolite awakening as his aspect crumbled with Villa’s first assault.
Allardyce had barely exchanged pleasantries with Dean Smith, John Terry and his previous mucker Craig Shakespeare when catastrophe struck, a mere 5 minutes into his Albion reign.
It was a purpose which might have set alarm bells ringing for the Premier League’s most well-known ‘firefighter’.
Anwar El Ghazi headed Aston Villa forward after solely six minutesCredit score: Getty – Pool
The winger stepped as much as chip dwelling a late penalty to seal the winCredit score: Information Group Newspapers Ltd
John McGinn launched a booming diagonal cross and Ollie Watkins leapt above Kieran Gibbs and Dara O’Shea to nod the ball all the way down to Bertrand Traore on the fringe of the field.
The Burkina Faso winger whipped a depraved ball to the far submit and El Ghazi ghosted away from Darnell Furlong to beat a startled Sam Johnstone from close-range with a nifty flick with the surface of his proper boot.
How he managed to squeeze the ball between the keeper and his near-post stays a thriller and the Baggies defence actually regarded baffled and bewildered.
Little question Massive Sam had his personal ideas as he was handed an early reminder of why his staff at present languishes in nineteenth place.
There have been treasured few positives for Allardyce to take from a recreation which noticed his aspect outclassed and outnumbered as they had been controversially lowered to 10 males.
John McGinn had powered a shot narrowly over after quarter-hour, then flashed a header a fraction large following a Traore free-kick.
Villa had been in complete command as Watkins headed large and it took a determined sliding clearance from Conor Gallagher to stop Watkins doubling Villa’s lead.
However the Baggies had been left with a mountain to climb when skipper Jake Livermore acquired his marching orders following one other VAR controversy.
The England midfielder threw himself right into a dedicated problem on Jack Grealish 10 minutes earlier than half-time.
Livermore appeared to hook his foot over the ball and win it cleanly from his Villa counterpart, who went down closely – as he usually does.
Martin Atkinson’s preliminary resolution was to achieve for his yellow card and e-book Livermore – till VAR ref Darren England urged him to take a re-examination.
Atkinson headed over to the pitchside monitor and, after cautious deliberation, determined to improve the Albion man’s Christmas card to a purple – a lot to the disgust of Allardyce and his assistant Sammy Lee.
It appeared a harsh name as Livermore clearly took the ball cleanly and there was no malice in his problem. However the truth his main leg was off the bottom swayed the officers.
Massive Sam was nonetheless scrutinising the replays when controversy flared once more as Kortney Hause mistimed his deal with on Grady Diangana and left the England Below-21 man writhing on the turf.
Replays confirmed Hause had ‘topped’ the winger as his studs raked down on his shin however this time VAR didn’t query Atkinson’s resolution to e-book the Villa defender.
It appeared a transparent case of double requirements. Nonetheless, having struggled to deal with 11 gamers, life wasn’t any simpler with 10.
The one shock was Villa didn’t put this recreation to mattress lengthy earlier than the top.
McGinn got here shut with a diving header and Sam Johnstone beat out a fierce try from Watkins earlier than the guests thought that they had wrapped up the win after 72 minutes.
Bertrand Traore rolled in a cool end to make it 2-0Credit score: PA:Press Affiliation
Allardyce couldn’t conceal his disbelief at his new staff’s newest crumbleCredit score: PA:Press Affiliation
McGinn fed Matty Money and the full-back’s teasing cross was expertly put away by Watkins on the far submit – till VAR performed its half and the purple traces descended for Watkins to be judged to have strayed a fraction offside.
Unfettered Villa stepped it up a gear and Traore produced a superb end, stroking dwelling a Grealish cross with six minutes remaining.
El Ghazi then doubled his tally for the evening from the penalty spot after Ajayi bunkled Grealish over within the field.
The Dutchman stepped ahead to expertly beat Johnstone… and go away Massive Sam with a raging fireplace to extinguish!