WBA in need of new blood after woeful draw

Middlesbrough defender Antonio Barragan winning a header from West Bromwich Albion midfielder Matt Phillips during the 0-0 English Premier League draw at The Hawthorns Stadium yesterday.
Middlesbrough defender Antonio Barragan winning a header from West Bromwich Albion midfielder Matt Phillips during the 0-0 English Premier League draw at The Hawthorns Stadium yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

West Bromwich Albion 0

Middlesbrough 0

LONDON • A match full of frustration ended with the predictable sound of boos at the final whistle yesterday as the desperate need for new signings at West Bromwich Albion was laid bare.

Tony Pulis looked as exasperated as the West Brom supporters, who endured 90 minutes of tedious action in a game where both teams were intent on passing the ball around aimlessly.

West Brom, who have completed only one permanent transfer this summer, were woeful as an attacking force.

There was no creativity or spark and they looked totally devoid of ideas as to how to break down Middlesbrough.

Saido Berahino started on the bench and the reaction to his introduction in the second half - a chorus of boos - suggested that the West Brom fans would have been happy for him to remain there.

Berahino could not get off the pitch quickly enough at the final whistle.

The only bright note for West Brom was the performance of the 18-year-old Sam Field, who looked composed in possession on his full Premier League debut.

He left the field to deserved applause when he was withdrawn with just under a quarter of an hour remaining.

As for Middlesbrough, this will probably be viewed as a useful point, although Aitor Karanka's team may feel that it could have been more if they had played with a bit more conviction.

It was painful to watch at times and for a long period in the first half it felt as though nothing happened.

Middlesbrough were dominating possession during that period but the neat and tidy passing at the base of their midfield, where Adam Clayton and Adam Forshaw were seeing plenty of the ball, rarely led to anything meaningful.

There was little improvement after the interval.

Craig Dawson's header from a Matt Phillips corner dropped into the wrong side of the post and that was as much as West Brom mustered in the second half.

Boro were no better. Antonio Barragan's sinuous run ended with Cristhian Stuani shooting tamely into the arms of Ben Foster.

The final whistle could not come quickly enough.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2016, with the headline 'WBA in need of new blood after woeful draw'. Print Edition | Subscribe