Evans' goal not enough as West Brom run out gas in season finale vs. Swans
West Brom's season ended for the second consecutive year with a nine-match winless run, having surrendered a one-goal lead at the Liberty Stadium to fall to another defeat. It was a match that pretty much sums up West Brom's run since they hit 40 points: They created decent opportunities without taking advantage of them and were then let down by defensive lapses at the back.
For around 70 minutes, West Brom seemed very well suited to the five-at-the-back system that Tony Pulis decided to employ, before the midfield trio of Claudio Yacob, Jake Livermore and Darren Fletcher appeared to run out of legs. Yacob was excellent for the third game in the row, while the recalled James Morrison was equally as impressive playing behind Salomon Rondon.
West Brom simply seemed to tire after around 70 minutes, which is a reflection of the ageing nature of the squad. Rondon had several opportunities in both halves, but was let down by either his own touch or a lack of confidence in front of goal. Craig Dawson will have been disappointed in the way he defended for both goals, having been given a rare opportunity in his preferred central position.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- The five-at-the-back system did work, but the personnel that Pulis chose to employ was disappointing. There was very little riding on this game, so why couldn't West Brom's head coach give opportunities to the likes of Sam Field, Kane Wilson or Jonathan Leko? It was also disappointing to see the team revert into their shell at 1-1, simply looking to contain and gain a point rather than end the season on a high.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ben Foster, 6 -- Was a dominant presence in his box at set pieces and when crosses came in. Had very little to do and no chance with either goal.
DF Allan Nyom, 7 -- Was solid defensively and showed good energy in the wing-back role, but lacked quality in the final third and ran inside too often, leaving West Brom with no width at times.
DF Craig Dawson, 5 -- Dealt well with Fernando Llorente generally but let himself down for both goals, failing to mark his opposition man tight enough.
DF Jonny Evans, 8 -- Produced yet another excellent display. Didn't put a foot wrong at the back, brought the ball out well from defence and got a goal to top it off.
DF Marc Wilson, 5 -- Looked clumsy and slow when dragged into wide areas, played a couple of errant passes in poor positions and generally seems uncomfortable.
DF Chris Brunt, 6 -- Seemed to be caught in two minds for most of the game in the unfamiliar wing-back role, unsure whether to stay back or push on. Good delivery from set pieces as usual.
MF Jake Livermore, 6 -- Hustled and bustled around the pitch, getting into more advanced positions than normal, but was unable to capitalise on them, with a couple of poor finishes standing out.
MF Claudio Yacob, 8 -- Enjoyed a strong end to the season with another impressive performance shielding the back four, constantly shutting down the space in which Gylfi Sigurdsson likes to operate.
MF Darren Fletcher, 6 -- Had a slow start to the game, getting caught in possession, but came into his own as it went on, particularly in the first half. Picked out a couple of good passes and won a lot of loose balls.
MF James Morrison, 8 -- Ended his season on a high with an all-action display in behind Rondon. Got into several good positions and was generally a threat throughout.
FW Salomon Rondon, 6 -- It's hard to judge him. His hold-up play was excellent and he gave Swansea's centre-backs a torrid time, but then let himself down with his finishing and decision-making in the final third.
MF James McClean, 6 -- Had a mix up with Rondon for Swansea's winning goal. Didn't get many opportunities to run with the ball, which is where he's at his best.
MF Jonathan Leko, N/A -- Had little time to make an impact.
FW Hal Robson-Kanu, 6 -- Was another who had no time to influence the contest.
Matthew Evans is ESPN FC's West Brom blogger. You can follow him on Twitter @MattEvansWBA.