Big Sam's survival blueprint must kick in now for struggling West Brom

Big Sam’s survival blueprint must kick in NOW as Allardyce shows tactical abilities in earning West Brom a home draw with fellow strugglers Fulham

  • West Brom were held to a 2-2 draw by fellow strugglers Fulham on Saturday 
  • Sam Allardyce lived up to his reputation as a survival specialist with his tactics 
  • The Baggies boss made tactical changes when West Brom fell behind early on

It is three years since Sam Allardyce appeared as a special guest on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football to share his survival blueprint with Jamie Carragher and David Jones.

The necessity for clean sheets topped his seven-point plan, followed by the importance of not losing possession in your own half.

‘That gives you the platform to be successful in a season,’ said Allardyce. ‘It only takes one goal to win a game.’

Sam Allardyce’s survival hopes were dampened by a 2-2 draw at home to Fulham on Saturday

West Brom continued to ship goals on Saturday, including Bobby Decordova-Reid’s early strike

Never relegated as a manager, Allardyce has long been seen as a mastermind of defending. 

Only three months ago, former Sky presenter and now BeIN Sports anchor Richard Keys suggested Pep Guardiola should hire Allardyce to sort out his Manchester City defence.

For West Brom to avoid relegation now, Allardyce must live up to that reputation and there is no time to waste. He himself showed that as he replaced defender Dara O’Shea with forward Karlan Grant after 24 minutes, with Fulham all over the hosts.

At half-time, he introduced his new loan signing, Galatasaray striker Mbaye Diagne. The 29-year-old Senegalese only landed in the snowy Midlands at 8pm on Friday, but hit the ground running here by assisting Matheus Pereira for his goal.

Allardyce showed tactical nous at half-time and the Baggies briefly led 2-1 in the second-half

That saw West Brom take a 2-1 lead but again defensive vulnerabilities cost them victory. Harrison Reed crossed for Ivan Cavaleiro who, completely unmarked, headed home for 2-2.

‘If they score a wonderful goal to get the equaliser, I’ll hold my hands up,’ Allardyce said. ‘But don’t gift them one. The penny has to drop with the players soon.’

Fulham boss Scott Parker was just as frustrated, saying his side should have been ‘four up by half-time’.

Ivan Cavaleiro’s (middle) second-half equaliser frustrated West Brom and manager Allardyce

This made it 24 league goals conceded by West Brom since Big Sam was appointed. They may have found a handy attacker in Diagne, but they cannot rely on scoring three a game to win, as they did in Allardyce’s only success, 3-2 at Wolves.

‘Brave man, isn’t he,’ Allardyce added of Diagne. ‘We saw a player we haven’t had. He can mess centre halves around.’

But as Allardyce emphasised in 2017, clean sheets are a must if Albion are to survive.

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