West Bromwich Albion 3 - Peterborough United 0

Date: Saturday 22nd January 2022 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
(3-4-3) Button 6.2, Kipré 6.9, Bartley 5.9, Clarke 6.5 (Robinson, 74 6.9), Furlong 5.8, Livermore 7.0, Reach 5.9, Townsend 6.9, Phillips 5.6 (Molumby, 74 5.6), Dike 6.3 (Diangana, 53 7.8), Grant 6.8 (Fellows, 92 6.0)
Unused subs: Palmer, Gardner-Hickman, Taylor
Manager: Valérien Ismaël  5.1
(3-5-1-2) Benda, Kent, Edwards (Knight, 49), Beevers, Mumba, Taylor, Norburn, Burrows (Ward, 84), Grant (Szmodics, 69), Clarke-Harris (Marriott, 74), Dembélé
Unused subs: Blackmore, Poku, Tomlinson
Scorers: Kipré (78), Grant (85), Diangana (89)
Referee: Jeremy Simpson 5.6
Attendance: 21,251   Home Fans 5.7   Away Fans 4.3
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 17

Brendan Clegg:

Felt so strange going to the game today. Always want us to win, expecting us to win against a very poor side and yet knowing that winning would prolong the agony and actually result us being less likely to achieve promotion because it would mean Ismael remaining in post.

And then seeing the starting lineup with Reach in centre midfield and the same failing 3-4-3 I just felt a bit of dread.

And, in my opinion, the feelings were justified. Peterborough were utterly abysmal. They had nothing and showed no ambition. We were dominant but terrible to watch. We created chances in the first half we should’ve finished - Dike looked a handful but also very rusty. He missed a couple of big ones but I’ve no doubt he’s better than what we had.

The system meant that Phillips and Grant were always too narrow; we had no width and they largely were anonymous or in totally the wrong areas. What epitomised this system at home against deeply defensive teams is that so often Clarke or Kipre have the ball deep in their half but don’t know what to do. Clarke often found himself as our most advanced player on the overlap. It’s not their fault that they have no end product - they are destroyers and we didn’t need them. Reach passed sideways all half and it was Livermore who tried to be playmaker- playing good balls in behind for both Furlong and Grant to get onto but nothing came of either. The frustrated boos rang out at half time.

Second half was more of the same and then Dike went off with what looked like a hamstring problem. What a worry. Phillips went up top and Grady came on to the right.

And at least it forced us to play the ball on the floor - Diagana looked a real threat via passing, dribbling and movement but he was alone in that respect. We looked clueless and for the first time the Smethwick actually called for Val’s head through a couple of chants as we went to 75 mins having had their keeper make only one save. I joined in.

Ismael took a final roll of the dice, keeping his 3-4-3 but getting Robinson on for Phillips and Mulumby on for Clarke, pushing Townsend to left CB but ultimately giving us a bit more ball player.

In the end, the law of averages got us over the line with a scruffy set piece goal - our first in months - getting us the breakthrough.

And being a goal ahead allowed us to benefit from Posh coming out a bit - Grant and Diagana finishing well from early Robbo assists.

It felt like we won despite our manager rather than because of him but win we did. It was still dross and the major discontent bubbles just below the surface. The crowd was low, the atmosphere subdued and I can’t recall a more muted celebration to such a crucial opener.

  • Button - 6 Had nothing to do.
  • Kipre - 6 In charge but hardly stretched.
  • Bartley - 6 Dominant.
  • Clarke - 6 Solid but not a playmaker, obviously.
  • Furlong - 6 Never really troubled and okay on the ball.
  • Livermore - 7 Once again probably our best player. Really tried to make things happen.
  • Reach - 5 Did okay but uninspiring
  • Townsend - 6 Plenty of energy and drive.
  • Phillips - 5 Nothing came off.
  • Dike - 6 Promise but missed some big chances. Shame about the injury.
  • Grant - 6 Extra mark for the goal but offers little else. Doesn’t pass it quick enough.
  • Diagana - 7 No passive play, he looked to create with every touch.
  • Molumby- 5 Needless fouls.
  • Robinson- 7 His goals and assists make him the most obvious number 10 in the squad. Shame we don’t play with one.