Prior to their match against Sunderland, West Brom had scored just one goal in the Premier League — and that was an injury-time equalizer from Gareth McAuley last week against Fulham. In other words, no one was placing bets on the Baggies to put three past Sunderland, even if the Black Cats’ leaky defense had conceded eight goals in four matches.
But that’s exactly what West Brom did, securing a win that moves them into 14th place, at least temporarily. Meanwhile, Sunderland remain dead last, their one point putting them behind even newcomers Crystal Palace. Paolo Di Canio must be wondering where it’s all gone wrong.
The Sunderland manager can start by regretting giving up Stephane Sessegnon. The Benin international went to West Brom at the close of the transfer window. Earlier this week, Di Canio suggested that Sessegnon hadn’t given his best to the club, and clearly hadn’t been committed enough to Sunderland. Naturally, that simply set up Sessegnon to grab a revenge goal, opening the scoring in the 20th minute. Kieren Westwood managed to do enough to block a shot from Scott Sinclair, but the ball fell to Sessegnon, who quickly put it in the back of the net.
1-0 West Brom. Di Canio? None too pleased.
At the start of the second half, Di Canio decided to mix things up a bit, bringing on Charalampos Mavrias for Emanuele Giaccherini, who’d wasted a free kick just before Sessegnon scored. With 30 minutes left to go, Fabio Borini made way for Jozy Altidore. The American quickly made himself useful, getting on the end of a cross but seeing his shot go just wide. Altidore also had his appeals for a handball waved away, which only added fuel to Di Canio’s steam.
With fifteen minutes left to play, and five minutes after Di Canio used his final substitution to replace Craig Gardner with Lee Cattermole, Steven Fletcher had to be carried off injured. Even before the flames started to rise from Di Canio’s head, West Brom had scored again. Westwood managed to tip away a cross, but Liam Ridgewell was waiting, placing his shot in the bottom left corner.
2-0 West Brom. Di Canio? Raging.
The hosts sunk the final nail in the Sunderland coffin during injury time. Morgan Amalfitano, who’d been excellent all match, got on the end of a ball from substitute Victor Anichebe. He sent his shot into the far corner and the Baggies finally had their first win of the season.
3-0 West Brom. Di Canio? Looking through the want ads, perhaps.
West Bromwich Albion: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Amalfitano, Mulumbu, Morrison, Sinclair (Yacob 69), Sessegnon (Berahino 89), Anelka (Anichebe 69)
Substitutes not used: Camp, Rosenberg, Lugano, Popov
Sunderland: Westwood, Celustka, Colback, Diakite, O’Shea, Ki, Gardner (Cattermole 69), Johnson, Giaccherini (Mavrias 46), Fletcher, Borini (Altidore 59)
Substitutes not used: Mannone, Ba, Cuellar, Dong-won