Nottingham Forest 1 - West Bromwich Albion 2

Date: Saturday 3rd August 2019 Live on Sky Sports
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Johnstone 5.4, Ferguson 8.5, Ajayi 7.6, Bartley 6.6, Gibbs 7.1 (Townsend, 72 6.7), Livermore 5.9, Sawyers 8.1, Phillips 7.6, Krovinovic 7.3, Edwards 7.9 (Harper, 84 5.8), Zohore 5.8 (Burke, 63 5.7)
Unused subs: Bond, Furlong, Leko, O'Shea
Manager: Slaven Bilic 8.1
Scorers: Edwards (15), Phillips (26)
Referee: Darren England 6.4
Attendance: 27,592   Home Fans 5.2   Away Fans 8.2
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 15

Brendan Clegg:

Well that was a lot better than I feared or expected!

Bilic made a big call at right back giving Ferguson his debut. Looking at the starting 11 the big positive was the pace and power we seemed to have all over the pitch. I was also encouraged by the formation and system.

However, we were very slow out of the traps with a few loose touches and some passive retreating.

The goal we conceded was really poor - Edwards didn’t track hard enough, Bartley didn’t block well enough and SJ really should’ve done better. It’s a big season for SJ and I do think we need to dip into the market for another keeper.

The goal sparked us into life and we equalised quickly through Edward’s quick feet. Our second goal was also a bit of a fluke and it’s probably better to talk about the rest of the game in general terms.

Sometimes Phillips and Gibbs walked through the opposition- they stand out so much at this level that I’d be amazed if we don’t get serious offers.

I loved the way we controlled possession for long periods with sharp and intelligent passing.

We defended set pieces quite well and generally had a sensible and pragmatic approach on our own defensive third.

Zohore is a strange one - his presence made the pitch massive for us and made so much room for the 3 attackers behind him but his touch was really sloppy. It’s a big IF but if he can pull that pace and power together with sharper play then he’s going to cause huge problems at this level. I thought we struggled to keep the ball after he went off even more than he struggled to keep the ball when he was on.

There were very positive debuts all round and we should’ve scored more on the break.

Overall I think we’ve got to be happy - we obviously need 3 more quality players who can impact the first team because, as well as the starting 11 did, the bench looked weak and it’s a long tough season. I was disappointed Field didn’t make the squad- he’s got to go out on loan and play 30+ games this season.

Well done Slav and the boys!

  • SJ - 6 Did okay aside from the goal. He MUST do better this season.
  • Ferguson - 8 A revelation. Had a positionally poor first 15 minutes but grew into the game and looked unbeatable by the end.
  • Ajayi - 7 I was really impressed. Very quick and seemed to head away every set play himself. Sensible on the ball.
  • Bartley - 7 Worries you most in possession with too much time to think but solid enough and more comfortable than under Jones and Moore tactics.
  • Gibbs - 8 It was too easy at times. Classy. Hope the injury isn’t too bad.
  • Livermore - 6 Couldn’t fault the effort or desire to press but his passing was ropey and against a better team might have cost us a couple of goals.
  • Sawyers - 7 Took his time to get going but once he did it was like watching a more mobile Jonathan Greening run the match through the centre - dictated the play.
  • Phillips - 8 Too much pace and power for them. Lucky goal but was a driving force in attack, in his best position (not a centre midfielder).
  • Krovinovic - 7 Very comfortable on the ball. Looks to lack that burst of pace but has everything else and passed the test of his teammates being able to give him the ball anywhere, he looks after it.
  • Edwards - 7 Great feet for the goal and I thought he was criminally underused last season but must do more defensively. A constant threat.
  • Zohore - 6 Showed glimpses and made space for others but feels like he’s going to be more of a project than finished article. A big fee for that.
  • Townsend - 6 Did a job as he always does.
  • Burke - 6 Neither he nor the rest of the team played to his strengths but we saw his brutal pace a couple of times.

Can’t wait for the next game!