West Bromwich Albion could well be sat just one point off the bottom of the Premier League table by the time they return to action against Burnley on Monday night.
But it would be no more than what they deserve as Slaven Bilic’s side simply cannot stop leaking goals – in fact, no other team in the top-flight has conceded more than 13 times.
You have to go down to the doldrums of the Football League to see that only League One outfit Burton Albion and League Two strugglers Oldham Athletic match that number, so the Baggies have the tied-worst record in English professional football right now.
However, the Croatian is yet to tinker with his backline, which simply seems like a disaster waiting to continue.
Both Kyle Bartley and Semi Ajayi have struggled immensely with the step up to the Premier League with neither player managed above a 6.25 average rating on WhoScored.
The pair are even averaging the fewest amount of tackles per game at the moment, meaning even Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira are contributing more defensively and they are two players you certainly don’t expect to be tracking back.
Therefore, it’s time for Bilic to call upon ageing veteran Branislav Ivanovic as a risky throw of the dice, though let’s face it, he can’t be much worse than what’s happening at the moment.
The 36-year-old, if partnered with a quicker presence like Ajayi, could be the man to herald the backline and make it come together with his experience and leadership.
Jose Mourinho once lauded the Serb as one of his greatest ever signings at Chelsea, he said: “Is he one of the club’s best signings? I think so. He came immediately after I left [after my first spell in charge] and after that he made a fantastic contribution for this club. He is a competitive animal with a big heart.”
It’s players like this that Albion desperately needs right now – even at his old age – so Bilic must pull him off the bench with Bartley, unfortunately, making way.
AND in other news, West Brom reject, who is now worth £15m plus, has THRIVED since 2013 exit…
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