The criticism of Glenn Murray by some Albion fans in the aftermath of his penalty miss against Leicester at the Amex was so over the top that it beggars belief.
Take away his 11 league goals for the season so far and the Albion would find themselves seven points worse off and sitting in 18th spot in the table. He has won far more points for the Albion than he has cost and has more credit in the bank than Lehmann Brothers pre-2008.
Really, Kasper Schmeichel keeping out that penalty on Saturday shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Pre-Amex Stadium, Albion fans will remember a time Murray, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood, Elliott Bennett and Gary Dicker contrived to miss eight penalties between them in a single season.
It got so bad that whenever a spot-kick was awarded, Gus Poyet would take to hiding behind the Withdean dugout in order to avoid going through the pain of watching another miss.
The problem on Saturday wasn’t that Murray missed a penalty or that he also squandered a one-on-one in the first half. It was that the Albion were incredibly wasteful in front of goal throughout the team.
Had we have managed to put away even one fifth of the 15 opportunities we created, then the game would’ve been won long before Murray fluffed his lines.
Pascal Gross and Solly March were denied by Schmeichel, Jurgen Locadia missed two first-half opportunities, Jose Izquierdo was cutting inside and shooting when he should have been passing and as for Gaetan Bong and the open goal, well it’s an overused phrase but even my grandmother could’ve scored that one.
And that’s the difference between the Championship and the Premier League.
Whereas last season we could afford to miss so many chances and not be punished, this season a team like Leicester – with the majority of their side being English champions two years ago, lest we forget – won’t let you off the hook as easily. The Foxes scored with two of their four shots on target despite being largely outplayed.
Not being clinical in front of goal has been a bit of a theme this season. The away game at Watford and the home games with Everton and Burnley spring to mind as matches where we created more than enough chances to win the game but didn’t stick the ball in the back of the net.
It leaves the next two games against Huddersfield and Crystal Palace looking even more vital, given they are the only two sides below us in the table we have left to play. Having drawn blanks in their past three outings, the Albion need to rediscover their scoring boots and fast.
And despite what the critics may say, Murray is the man to do it.
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