West Brom blanked in loss to Southampton, continue week-long skid
A run of three games in a week ended with West Brom succumbing to a 1-0 loss against Southampton at The Hawthorns on Saturday, meaning that Tony Pulis' side failed to score in any of their three games in that week-long period.
After a tremendous run of home form, West Brom has lost two of its past three fixtures at The Hawthorns, which suggests that teams may now have a game plan in place to combat the main threats of Pulis' team.
While it wasn't a great performance from him, it was good to see Matty Phillips back in West Brom's starting lineup. He couldn't provide the quality of final ball or short in the key moments, but his pace and dribbling ability were still threats. James McClean and Chris Brunt both had positive impacts from the subs bench, delivering a series of dangerous crosses into the Southampton penalty box from the left side.
The decline in form of Salomon Rondon must now really be worrying both the player and Pulis. He hasn't scored since a hat trick against Swansea in December and looks bereft of confidence, not just in front of the goal but with his all-around play. Nacer Chadli still flatters to deceive in a wide position, while James Morrison was subdued in behind Rondon.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Aside from the absence of Brunt, this was arguably the strongest team that Pulis could select, but the players simply didn't perform to the level expected. Playing Phillips on the left side was the one decision that could be questioned, as it meant West Brom had no natural width on that side of the pitch with the right-footed Allan Nyom playing at left-back.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ben Foster, 6 -- Had no chance with Southampton's winning goal. He made a decent save from Nathan Redmond's shot, but had a few wobbly moments with the ball at his feet.
DF Craig Dawson, 6 -- Some loose touches out wide in the first half killed the momentum of a couple of West Brom attacks. Played well when moved inside to play centre-back and unlucky not to score with a volley in added time.
DF Gareth McAuley, 5 -- Will have been disappointed with the way he was out-muscled by Shane Long on a couple of occasions, including for Southampton's goal.
DF Jonny Evans, 6 -- Slightly more comfortable dealing with Long than his partner at the back, but was clearly frustrated by the lack of movement in front of him when bringing the ball out from defence. Another who was unfortunate not to score.
DF Allan Nyom, 6 -- Defended well enough at both right- and left-back, but was another who was sloppy going forward. Missed a gilt-edged chance late that he really should have converted.
MF Nacer Chadli, 5 -- Nothing seemed to go right for the Belgian, who often ran into the congested middle area of the pitch rather than staying out wide. Poor decision-making in the final third.
MF Jake Livermore, 7 -- West Brom's best player on the day, put in a couple of fantastic recovery challenges to win the ball back and instigate attacks. Attempted a couple of difficult passes when retaining possession would have been the better option.
MF Darren Fletcher, 5 -- One of his worst days in a West Brom shirt, his passing was sloppy, got caught in possession on a couple of occasions and generally seemed to be leggy after three games in a week.
MF James Morrison, 5 -- Apart from one decent long-range strike that was palmed away by Fraser Forster, the Scot was fairly anonymous throughout.
MF Matt Phillips, 5 -- Saw plenty of the ball without ever really having the end product to go with his skill and pace. Another who ran into trouble too often.
FW Salomon Rondon, 5 -- The Venezuelan's entire game was off. He didn't seem to want to battle the centre halves' physically, his first touch and passing were loose, and he just appears short of confidence.
MF Chris Brunt, 7 -- West Brom uses the ball so much better when Brunt is in the side, even from the deeper position of left-back. Put a couple of quality balls into the box from open play that didn't quite drop for his teammates.
MF James McClean, 7 -- Another who made a good impact on the left-hand side of the pitch, linking up well with Brunt.
FW Hal Robson-Kanu, 5 -- Probably held the ball up better than Rondon but wasted one decent opportunity in the six-yard box.
Matthew Evans is ESPN FC's West Brom blogger. You can follow him on Twitter @MattEvansWBA.