West Brom – Leeds: Marcelo Bielsa’s side jumped on the Baggies early and often as they handed out a 5-0 drubbing at The Hawthorns on Tuesday.
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The victory sends Leeds up to 10th in the Premier League table, once again in the top half after a turbulent couple of months. West Brom, meanwhile, remain rooted in 19th place, only spared the indignity of 20th by Sheffield United’s historically horrid pace.
3 things we learned: West Brom – Leeds
1. A big ask, even for Big Sam: Perhaps it’s time to consider that West Brom, as currently constructed, is simply not cut out for the Premier League. Sure, they showed a fighting spirit to come back and take a point off Liverpool on Sunday, but when they went down early to Leeds, their heads dropped and the team looked like a beaten bunch. If Allardyce can’t reach the players in a motivational sense, all hope is lost.
2. Leeds more than a little lucky: With all of that said, Leeds built their 4-0 halftime lead on the back of an absurd own goal, a genuine wonder-strike, a piece of actual build-up, and a wicked deflection. They were undeniably the aggressors, which perhaps curried a bit of favor with the goal gods.
Sam Allardyce’s side fell behind first once again, just as they did against Liverpool on Sunday, only this time the deficit was 100 percent of their own doing. Romaine Sawyers received the ball no less than 25 yards from West Brom’s goal and played it back to goalkeeper Sam Johnstone. The only problem was Sawyers did so without looking, and Johnstone was all the way out of goal, halfway up the end line. Everyone in blue and white shirts watched in horror as the ball slowly rolled over the line.
West Brom managed to keep the score at 1-0 until the half-hour mark, at which point the floodgates opened and things began to get away from them. Ezgjan Alioski smashed a stunning left-footed strike off the inside of the far post to make it 2-0 in the 31st minute, bringing with the goal a feeling of overwhelming inevitability and finality.
Jack Harrison made it 3-0 with a tough finish after Patrick Bamford played him into the penalty just five minutes later.
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Four minutes after that, Rodrigo got on the end of Mateusz Klich’s cross to guide it home, with the help of a massive deflection, and it was four for Bielsa’s side.
The fifth goal, courtesy of club-record signing Raphinha, was a purely sensational strike that put the exclamation point on a banner result.