West Bromwich Albion 0 - Everton 1
||Thursday 4th March 2021
||Johnstone , Furlong , O'Shea , Bartley , Townsend , Yokuslu , Pereira , Gallagher (Robson-Kanu, 78 ), Maitland-Niles , Phillips (Snodgrass, 78 ), Diagne |
Unused subs: Button, Ajayi, Robinson, Livermore, Sawyers, Peltier, Grant
Manager: Sam Allardyce
||Pickford, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey, Iwobi (Allan, 58), Doucouré (Sigurdsson, 64), Gomes, Digne, Bernard (King, 84), Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison
Unused subs: Neves Virgínia, Nkounkou, Broadhead, Tyrer, Onyango
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||Ratings submitted so far: 18
Well that was as well as we’ve played all season and I thought we deserved something from the game.
I’m firmly in the camp of always playing your best team so I was delighted Allardyce kept the same starting 11. I felt they’d earned it.
And we were rewarded with a really good performance. The better team for most of it, arguably shading the better chances but ultimately undone by an incredible save by Pickford in the first 2 minutes, Everton’s outstanding defence/recovery for much of the match which I felt was impressive, our own profligacy when we did create clear cut chances, a momentary 5% lapse by 3 players for their goal and just coming off slightly worse on marginal var calls - the decision not to review Holgate’s challenge which was more of a penalty that Townsend’s against Brighton and the super tight offside for our late would-be equaliser.
Defensively we were pretty solid. In midfield Yokusulu was immense not only in his tackling and covering but his reading of the game and speed of thought/choice of pass. I thought Gallagher and Maitland-Niles continued to give us energy and legs as good as anything and I thought Phillips, Pereira and Diagne did well at times to create openings but lacked the killer finishing we needed.
The whole team were brave in pressing Everton high for much of the match and although we got nothing and it makes the pretty impossible survival job harder, at least we were enjoyable to watch and a bit more pride was restored.
The only thing I’d have done differently to Allardyce was the HRK sub - I’d have tried Robinson or Grant with Diagne as a roll of the dice with a bit more legs/creativity but we were millimetres from a point so it wasn’t a bad call by him.
- SJ - 6 A couple of vital saves but didn’t cover himself in glory for the goal.
- Furlong - 6 Had a tough night but he never dropped and kept giving us an option.
- O’Shea - 7 Think he can be really proud. Has got a great pass on him but also solid and determined.
- Bartley - 7 Also mostly good. Maybe also caught wrong side for the goal but there was also another defender and a keeper there too.
- Townsend - 7 Thought he was great again. Quick to tackle Iwobi before he could turn and got forward loads.
- Yokusulu - 8 Maybe caught out for the goal but he was a monster for lots of this. Huge but with nimble feet. I doubt we’ve got any hope of keeping him.
- Pereira - 6 Worked hard. Decision making wasn’t on it. Slowed us down, passed instead of shooting when in great areas and delayed crosses.
- Gallagher - 6 Like Scrappy-Doo scampering around, getting whacked and bouncing back up. Unlucky with some great bursts but lacked quality.
- Maitland-Niles - 7 His searing pace made a difference both ways and I thought he was a major handful when moved left out left for our final push.
- Phillips - 6 Another solid job and plays the percentages well working it up the pitch.
- Diagne - 6 A handful, engineers great openings but doesn’t shoot. A threat but hasn’t managed to be prolific enough.
- HRK - 5 Worked and battled but I felt their defenders were too good for him.
- Snodgrass - 6 Used all that know-how to help create things but looked more leggy than normal.