That is now three loses on the bounce and all of a sudden the situation in SE25 is once again, according to some, looking rather bleak.
But, hold fire.
I don’t think it is as bad as some have made out over the past few days. Of course, the defeat to Liverpool was damaging. We didn’t play well in the first half but I would say it was a game of small margins. If the odd penalty shout was granted it might have been a different. That aside, there is plenty to work on, and plenty for us fans to ponder.
The defending wasn’t what we are used to seeing, especially from set pieces. The goals conceded from Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip were schoolboy stuff, and not what we have come to expect from Scott Dann and James Tomkins.
You do have to take into consideration the quality of the opposition. On Saturday we came up against a quality outfit, one that in my view will be in the reckoning for the Premier League title come the end of the season.
The first half display set the tone for the rest of the match. We were second best to everything, and given the amount of room we allowed Liverpool in that opening period, we were fortunate to be still in the game. There was improvement as the game went on and maybe on another day the outcome might have been different.
There is a lot to choose to talk about this week, but there is one point which I want to touch on, or rather, expand on. My TEB colleague Sam wrote a great piece the other week looking at the depth of our squad, or rather the lack of depth compared to other clubs in the Premier League. He was right on every point made but I just want to pick up on the comments about the strikers at the club.
Even though we shelled out £32million on Christian Benteke this summer, the lack of options up front remains glaringly obvious. At present, if we want someone to effect the game at the top end, all we can call upon is Frazier Campbell or Connor Wickham.
If you compare them against Benteke they are almost the same type of player, well Wickham’s abilities are strikingly similar to Benteke’s at least. On the other hand, Campbell is a bit of an oddball. It’s hard to put him into any type of category and although he has been getting minutes here and there this season, he has done nothing of note and certainly not anything that has made us sit up and take notice.
Fans have been forgetting a certain someone who will hopefully return to the fold in the near future. Loic Remy.
When we signed the Frenchman on loan from Chelsea in the summer, it was met with much excitement. Since his injury, he has kind of fallen back into the shadows, and everyone has forgot about him.
In our last three games it has been obvious to me, that we are too reliant on the original game plan. We just do not have a Plan B. I’m hoping Remy will be exactly that when he is fit to make his long awaited debut.
It is all well and good lumping crosses and diagonal balls into the box towards Benteke, but when teams cotton on to that, just like they have done in the past three games, we seem to completely run out of ideas.
None of our strikers have neither the will nor the pace to stretch teams, and I think that has been half our problem over the past two or three games. We have looked threatening in all of the games we have lost but, when we needed to adapt and change our style to try and get something, we couldn’t really do so because of the lack of striking options available.
It is impossible to tell if one player will change our fortunes, history suggests it doesn’t, but I do believe we will benefit from the introduction of Remy.
In saying that, the problems that we have been experiencing lately do need to be addressed, and with a hugely important game against Burnley this weekend, it is imperative that Alan Pardew tries to find that spark which has been missing in recent weeks.