As Mark Twain once remarked that the news of his death was greatly exaggerated, so the accepted view of the demise of the Baggies is also way off the mark, though ‘one swallow doth not a summer make’, of course – if one is allowed to say such a thing at the present time, gripped as we are in the winter blasts.
That this was a controversial game would be putting it mildly as the Everton manager thought the sending off of Mikel Arteta was as a result of a free kick that the home side were not awarded.
Whether this changed the game is debatable, although the home side seemed to be in the ascendancy and were only 1-2 down. Certainly with ten men it made the job harder, and we punished them with two further goals. David Moyes was right, however, when he asserted that it was not a 1-4 game – much as last week’s 0-3 was not that sort of game. Any side chasing the game will leave themselves open to the counter-attack, and they were subsequently punished.
This was the key to the Baggies’ success, and our chief coach described the performance as ‘clinical’. We scored in our first real attack, Paul Scharner from a corner taken by a restored Chris Brunt (it was the Austrian’s first goal for the Baggies, and his fifth against Everton), scored the second with our second chance (an exquisite free-kick by Brunt), rode our luck when we needed to, and scored two further goals – a good ratio of goals per chances.
The only blemish was the sending off of Youssouf Mulumbu, for a second yellow – which seemed to mystify him. He needs to watch this element of his game, as does Gonzalo Jara who had seemed to cause the initial problem before the sending-off.
When just before half time it became 2-1 the nerves were starting to jangle, and one wondered whether our bubble really had burst as Everton were coming back strongly.
We were riding our luck at this point, with Scott Carson playing well and keeping us ahead. The game then changed with Arteta getting sent off, after seemingly taking the law into his own hands after Leighton Baines had been fouled by Jara – but not given.
Even so Everton wasted chances to draw level, and were clearly chasing the game as Somen Tchoyi scored another sublime goal, after cutting in from the left. Game over?
A fourth goal then followed, after a deflected shot by Mulumbu – who thought he had scored and was booked for celebrating. It was ironic as the goal has been officially given as an own goal, and when Mulumbu was then booked again, less than a minute later, it meant a sour ending to the afternoon.
Still, a win is a win – our first in six games, and our first at Everton since 1979, and it moved us numerous places up the table. It is still a topsy-turvy season, and was a weekend when every one of the 20 teams in the division scored at least one goal.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.