West Bromwich Albion 1 - Stoke City 3

Date: Saturday 9th April 2022 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
(3-5-2) Johnstone 4.5, Ajayi 4.8, Bartley 3.5, Clarke 4.8, Gardner-Hickman, Molumby 4.1, Livermore 4.4, Mowatt 3.2 (Robinson, 58 4.5), Townsend 4.1 (Reach, 79 4.3), Diangana 3.7 (Grant, 58 3.8), Carroll 6.0
Unused subs: Button, Furlong, O'Shea, Kipré
Manager: Steve Bruce 3.2
Referee: Andy Davies 5.3
Attendance: 22,761   Home Fans 4.3   Away Fans 5.3
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 13

Brendan Clegg:

Another very depressing one and I really don’t know what Bruce was playing at. At home and needing a win with no pressure on us at all and we play 3 centre backs and 3 holding midfielders. Against a team who hasn’t won away in yonks. A team with the aged Jagielka at the back and Stephen Fletcher up front. What did he think was going to happen?

Freshen it up, fine, but don’t weaken your midfield for the sake of it.

We offered nothing. All the known problems were there. We didn’t have a midfielder who could pass the ball forwards. So often it was a centre back on the ball to either try and find a pass or, in the case of Ajayi or Clarke, go roaming on an underlap. The fatal flaw in this is that centre backs wouldn’t be centre backs if they were capable of doing this - they need wingers of midfielders to do this for them.

Little surprise then that we gave the ball away or painfully went across the pitch and backwards. Whenever a wing back got the ball they were too deep to cross but had nothing down the line ahead of them. The system, tactics, selections were all rubbish. I can’t see how Bruce can stay in role here… this was really in him. I’m not exculpating the players; plenty of them were crap too but they were sent out to fail.

Farke is free. We need to go and get someone of that ilk for the rebuild. Bruce needs to accept it hasn’t worked, he hasn’t worked, and walk away now.

  • SJ - 5 One good save but the casual sloppiness was there. Awful kick just before their second and no desire to read/prevent the third. I’d gladly see him removed before he swans off to warm a bench somewhere.
  • Ajayi - 6 One of the few to come out with credit. Did his job.
  • Bartley- 4 Too many lapses and thinks he’s better on the ball than he is. Should probably be dropped now.
  • Clarke - 5 Can be good and aggressive but you never feel like you can trust him.
  • TGH - 6 Wasted at wing back but never gave up and still hit some of our best passes.
  • Molumby- 5 Gets about but no threat at all.
  • Livermore- 6 Again did his job although the opening goal was embarrassing. Tried to move the ball and did so better than most.
  • Mowatt - 3 He’s league 1. Can’t run, passes are blind/hopeful. Hits the odd worldie but that’s it. Set plays atrocious.
  • Townsend - 4 Form has nosedived but when he gets the ball there is nothing ahead of him and Clarke can be so erratic how can you work out what he’s going to do.
  • Diagana - 4 We’re absolutely ruining one of the few actually talented players we have. He’s not a striker. He’s not a number 10. He’s not a right winger. He is a left winger who needs a run of games on the left wing to find his form and is probably good enough there to build a team around. It’s painfully obvious yet we continue with doing everything with him but this. Why?
  • Carroll - 6 Looked leggy but you can never fault his pure desire. With 3 at the back we don’t play to his strengths so he had little to feed off.
  • Grant has no football brain and Robinson is a bottle job but they gave Stoke problems because the league is crap.
  • Reach played as an advanced wingback/ winger and, although he is also League 1 level, was able to beat his marker and cross at will. Imagine having Diagana out there for 90 minutes?

Struggling to lift myself to bother watching these last few games. What a shambolic season.