Well, where do I begin? This game was always going to go one of two ways, an open, end-to-end thriller with everything you want from a game OR as it turned out to be, a game where neither side really took the opportunity to grab the game by the scruff and make it theirs.
From the get-go, it did seem that we had lined up to make sure we didn't lose, over making sure we actually won.
The two teams shared possession almost identically in each half with the home side having 52% first half and 53% second, and the close numbers didn't stop there.
West Brom had the majority of shots (13) with only 3 on target, which definitely points to a reason they are in the bottom 3, Newcastle United totaling 9 with 5 on target, all 5 needing Johnstone in the West Brom net to make saves. Joelinton for the second game running coming out joint top with total shots (2) for the away side, concerningly for Newcastle, RB Krafth was the other player with 2 shots from the visitors. Mbaye Diagne had West Brom’s main attempts, nothing 4 total shots, ahead of Bartley, Phillips, and Yokuslu (2 each).
West Brom should really have scored on a couple of occasions, missing 2 big chances that didn't even trouble Dubravka, but the stats will show that these were probably easier to score than miss the target altogether, this is also represented well in the XG (expected goals) from the game, again the hosts taking this stat 1.47xg to Newcastle's 0.45. Dubravka, in goal for Newcastle, after his first start of the season against Wolves last week, had another “relaxed” day in-between the post compared to his counterpart. Dubravka showing with his passing stats, 25 accurate passes from 34 (74%) 11 long ball attempts (3 complete) that staying tight and building from the back was on the cards but some confidence at reclaiming his position as Newcastle's number one was on show for all to see. His ability to control the back 3, 4, or 5, or whatever combination Bruce try's to throw onto the field is a credit to how good a keeper he really is outside just being a shot-stopper.
After Dubravka being one important player to return to the squad, there were the obvious missing pieces of the quickest and more creative players Newcastle have on their books, they did have two counter-attacks resulting in shots at goal, Fraser being the main architect of this having two key passes that lead to shots.
It's safe to say that Newcastle's performances have been an improvement in recent weeks, and the loss of Almiron, ASM, and Wilson was always going to be a struggle to say the least.
With the chances that are being created, we are desperate to find that spark up front to help drag us away from a very difficult situation at the bottom of the table, with the team averaging 70% accurate passes and moving the ball reasonably well between them, it is disappointing to see that in this game we tried to cross the ball twenty times and were only successful twice. With us only scoring a grand total of three times from outside the box this season from 107 attempts, it shows the importance of getting the ball in front of goal.
We really need to keep the fight going forward, with the visit of Aston Villa to St James’ on Friday night 8 PM(GMT) who sit a healthy 9th and will want to continue the push for a Europa League spot.
Newcastle on the other hand now only sit 1 point above the bottom three after a not so surprising 1-0 win for Fulham away at Anfield in the afternoon kick-off to put all the pressure back on not only Newcastle but also Brighton (26 points) and Burnley (30 points). Fulham have the wind in their sails and Newcastle seem to be blowing out their hoop, we definitely need to turn losses into draws and draws into wins sooner rather than later.