A week to forget for West Brom was rounded off with an FA Cup exit as fellow Premier League strugglers Southampton won 2-1 at The Hawthorns on Saturday to reach the quarter-finals.
West Brom boss Alan Pardew named Jonny Evans and Gareth Barry in his starting line-up despite the experienced duo forming half of a group of four players questioned by Spanish police this week over the theft of a taxi on the club’s warm-weather training trip to Barcelona.
The break was supposed to refresh Pardew’s squad ahead of the run-in to the league season, with the Baggies rooted to the foot of the table, seven points adrift of safety.
Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill also admitted they had broken a team curfew when they took a taxi from Barcelona city centre at 5.30am on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the club sacked chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman due to poor results on the field this season.
And the only positive for Pardew’s men is that they can now concentrate on survival as the Saints won for the second time in as many weeks at The Hawthorns.
Wesley Hoedt took advantage of some slack West Brom marking to head home his first goal for Southampton just 11 minutes in.
Dusan Tadic doubled the visitors’ advantage on the counter-attack after the break, and Southampton held out despite Salomon Rondon’s spectacular volley pulled a goal back.
Brighton cruised into the last eight as fourth-tier Coventry City’s fairytale run came to a crashing end in a 3-1 defeat.
After a 15-minute delay to kickoff due to traffic disruption, Jurgen Locadia opened his Brighton account after a club record move from PSV Eindhoven.
Connor Galdson added a second for a much-changed Brighton before the break, and Leonardo Ulloa netted his first goal since returning to the Amex on the hour mark before a late consolation from Jonson Clarke-Harris.
Saints and Brighton join Chelsea and Leicester City in the hat for the quarter-final draw later on Saturday after they saw off Hull and Sheffield United respectively on Friday.
Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City face an unwanted replay after an insipid 0-0 draw on Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal’s return to Hillsborough.
“It’s a score nobody wants,” said Carvalhal, whose side are also battling for Premier League survival.
“Maybe in the future, if the managers and referee agree after the first game we can go to penalties, we can finish the game today.
“I believe if you had asked us and the Sheffield Wednesday manager, we’d have gone to penalties.”