West Bromwich Albion 1 - Cardiff City 1

Date: Sunday 2nd January 2022 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
WBA:
4.4
(3-4-2-1) Johnstone 2.9, Kipré 5.7, Bartley 4.9, Clarke 4.6 (Reach, 72 5.3), Gardner-Hickman 5.6, Mowatt 4.1, Livermore 4.8, Townsend 5.3, Fellows 4.9 (Diangana, 65 5.8), Grant 5.4, Robinson 5.4 (Molumby, 79 4.6)
Unused subs: Button, Furlong, Ajayi, Hugill
Manager: Valérien Ismaël  3.6
Cardiff:
4.4
(3-5-2) Smithies, McGuinness, Flint, Nelson, Ng, Vaulks (Colwill, 79), Pack, Ralls, Giles, Collins, Harris (Davies, 86)
Unused subs: Phillips, Bagan, Morrison, Brown, Patten
Scorers: Robinson (48); Collins (34)
Referee: Thomas Bramall 1.6
Attendance: 22,925   Home Fans 4.8   Away Fans 5.9
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 16

Mark Koppel:

Finally it looked like Val had realised how bad Club Feet Furlong and Huge Bill are. This meant he only left Livermore, out the 3 worst players in our last 20 years, in the Team.

Equally he started with TGH and Fellows, the only 2 players to come out the Derby fiasco with credit.

We were also boosted by the return from Covid of two of our better players in Grant and Mowatt.

So things looked promising before the game, especially as we were only playing an out-of-form Cardiff.

Then the match started !

It just didn't seem great from the off, and got worse with Cardiff scoring first.

Again Val insists on zonal marking. Ok system if you have Defenders and a Goalie who move to the ball. In Bartley and Sam Johnstone we have the exact opposite. Both are ok if the ball comes straight at them, but otherwise they cannot operate their legs to get to it.

A much better second half even though our goal looked offside and was offside. That was until Mowatt, Val, Johnstone, and The Ref lost the plot.

I think we have the worst squad for nearly 20 years and Val, and his lack of thinking/flexibility, is just making things worse.

There is no way we will, or should, get promoted with this combination.

Player Ratings:

  • Johnstone 3 : A totally shocking game. His kicking was awful yet again with several going out of play. He makes all the Defenders nervous as hell. Gets stuck on his line as the cross that ran straight across him at the Smethwick End proved . And to top it all, gets stupidly sent off after the game has finished.
  • TGH 6 : Got skinned a couple of times early on but grew into the game, and looked dangerous going forward. A much, much better option than Club Feet, but there again so am I.
  • Kippers 8 : Quite possibly MOM. So strong in all he does, tries to pass along the floor rather than the Hoof, and put in a couple of crucial last ditch tackles.
  • Clarke 6 : Solid and does try to be positive going forward.
  • Bartley 5 : As said, ok in the air if the ball comes straight at him. But because he has little control of his Bambi like legs, takes an eternity to do anything with the ball until all options are marked. If he flaps his arms about anymore he may take off next time.
  • Townsend 6 : Another who had a better second half, did little wrong and should have had a penalty.
  • Mowatt 6 : This will be a big loss for the next 3 games as he is our best central midfielder by a mile.
  • Joke 4: Tries but what does he give us ? Slow, overweight, laboured passing at best, inaccurate often.And what percentage of his challenges are well timed ? As long as Val makes him Captain, I will seriously question the Manager's judgement.
  • Fellows 6 : A little disappointing but Val needs to stick with him I feel.
  • Robinson 7 - Makes the most of his lack of pace. Excellent runs off the ball both for his goal and shot in the first half.
  • Grant 7- Two superb passes to Robinson, and to Townsend for the penalty not given, showing he isn't just about scoring goals.

Subs:

  • Reach 6.5- Did alright when he came on, and gave us the attacking option that Matt Clarke couldn't.
  • Grady 7- Looked really dangerous going through the middle and maybe starting to be the Grady of old.
  • Molumby 4 - Did he touch the ball ?

Brendan Clegg:

Oh it was bad again. I was on an upper after the signing of Dike - something that is definitely a positive.

Some big calls picking TGH and Fellows. I was worried we’d be weak that side. TGH definitely deserves a start but Fellows didn’t really justify his start in my opinion, with the options still available and just how important the game was.

I thought we started poorly and Cardiff played for percentages and long throws - not that we can complain about that. As so often, our spare player was always a centre back who didn’t know what to do with it. Fellows couldn’t get into it, Grant offers little threat and Robinson dropped into holes that would be great if anyone was ahead of him.

After a couple of half chances/poor decisions on our part they took the lead through a set play and I’d have changed it at that point. I know he gets grief and can be heavy footed but Livermore seemed to be the only player trying with any urgency to make things happen - and when that’s the case it tends to mean we’re in trouble.

We were crying out for 4 at the back and an extra man in their half - 442, 451,433 it really didn’t matter. However we all knew it wouldn’t happen - including Cardiff.

Half time came and went with nothing but we got a lifeline when Grant played a ball to Robinson who looked miles offside but finished well.

As we toiled further and subs came on, we didn’t look like scoring and Ismael squandered another opportunity to change the back 3 as Clarke came off - moving Townsend to the back.

Mowatt’s silly challenge and red forced us to change again without really changing and thankfully Cardiff didn’t really have a go at us. Some further wasteful crossing in great positions were the last dregs of entertainment on offer.

It did look like a penalty at the end but what were Ismael and SJ doing? The referee was terrible but that’s par for the course and we did benefit from some terrible decisions too. It should not distract from the real issues - how poor we were again, how tactically predictable, how a likely offside goal salvaged a point against another very poor side and continued our relegation form.

I’d say 80% of supporters feel the same and I don’t think 1 signing is enough although we could sign several galacticos with this chancer in charge and still play poorly.

Farke with this squad as it is now would be a great appointment with enough games to still get automatic promotion. I have zero confidence in Ismael and Brighton could conceivably give us an absolute spanking if they take the game seriously.

  • SJ - 3 Appallingly casual all game. Head already seems gone. Whatever we can get for him I’d take it now.
  • Kipre - 6 Did okay but that’s about it.
  • Bartley - 6 Mostly okay, did his job.
  • Clarke - 5 Flies in and is the one most likely to hoof it. Big air shot from a good position.
  • TGH - 5 Thought he struggled physically.
  • Livermore - 6 Unpopular and inconvenient for many, but he was one of our better players although faded as the game went on.
  • Mowatt - 4 Stupid tackle and I can’t remember one good pass or him taking it off the CBS.
  • Townsend - 5 Crossing really poor again.
  • Fellows - 4 Feel for him but weak and ineffective
  • Robinson - 5 Decent finish but very hit and miss on the ball.
  • Grant - 5 Good pass for the goal and he did work but his touch can be dreadful and he offered little
  • Diagana - 6 Bright, his best moment was on the left. Maybe should have scored.
  • Reach - 4 Crosses we’re not good enough
  • Molumby - 5 Couldn’t get into it and another booking.