West Bromwich Albion 1 - Reading 1

Date: Wednesday 21st August 2019 Live on Sky Sports
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
(4-2-3-1) Johnstone 5.8, Furlong 6.9, Ajayi 6.3, Bartley 6.2, Gibbs 6.8, Livermore 5.9 (Edwards, 80 6.6), Sawyers 5.9, Diangana 5.8 (Pereira, 70 6.1), Krovinovic 7.0, Phillips 6.4, Austin 5.6 (Zohore, 75 6.9)
Unused subs: Bond, Brunt, Townsend
Manager: Slaven Bilic 6.3
Rafael, Miazga, Morrison, Moore, Yiadom, Ejaria, Swift (Adam, 84), Pelé, Richards, Boyé (Lucas João, 66), Puscas (Rinomhota, 77)
Unused subs: Neves Virgínia, Loader, McIntyre, Barrett
Scorers: Zohore (88 pen); Ejaria (71)
Referee: Peter Bankes 3.3
Attendance: 21,803   Home Fans 6.0   Away Fans 5.0
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 17

Brendan Clegg:

Tough game that. Reading were a decent side and, like Millwall, seem to have a team of hardworking big beasts who made it difficult by defending in numbers but also had some useful players who could get them through the pitch and create chances.

Generally we were okay and there were 3 or 4 periods in the game where we absolutely hammered them, besieging their goal but unable to make it count. One of those periods was the opening 10 minutes when we battered them but couldn’t get the goal.

In between our dominant moments Reading did threaten but I thought we created enough decent chances to win by 3 or 4 with either our decision making or finishing poor - Austin, Diangana, Phillips, Zohore, Livermore and Pereira all should have done better.

I think it’s fair to comment that we were at times too narrow again - certainly for my liking anyway. Reading kept their wing backs on the touchline for the whole game whereas at times our wingers were within ten yards of each other.

I thought a couple of players looked a bit leggy which is understandable.

It’s also starting to look like we need a bit more of plan B because we are a bit tippy tappy or guilty of over playing - from what I’ve seen of us I’m not entirely sure Krovinovic is in the right position. He’s great on the ball and links play well but hasn’t got that pace to hurt teams and doesn’t ever look like he’ll score from crosses or knock-downs from a lone centre forward.

That might be being a bit harsh - he eventually won the penalty - but at times it feels a bit more like the brute power and uncomplicated style of Harper or rapid feet, trickery and goal threat of Edwards would carry more of a threat even if it cost us a few percentages in the possession stats.

Our set plays are becoming frustrating too - a bit overly clever with the 8 passes to get a cross in. We need to mix them up more.

Their goal was a pain really - our midfield were too passive and it seemed too easy for their player to stroll through us and shoot.

Some credit to Bilic who wasn’t afraid to change things and introduce a bit of chaos when things were getting predictable - a point was the least we deserved and on another day we’d have got a couple of penalties at least.

Slightly concerning we seem to need to score 2 goals to win a game at a time when we’re not looking clinical but on the positive side we’d probably have won every match with a Gayle in the side. Hopefully Austin gets going soon.

  • Johnstone - 6 Did okay, no chance with the goal.
  • Furlong - 8 Really encouraging performance. Probably better than Ferguson going forward and decent defensively too. Good understanding with Phillips.
  • Ajayi - 6 Tough game but generally did well and he can shift for sure.
  • Bartley - 6 A couple of groan moments but solid and committed.
  • Gibbs - 7 Another good performance and was probably under-used when he made the overlaps.
  • Livermore - 6 Effort and drive was there but some tired touches.
  • Sawyers - 6 Same as above really, made quite a few mistakes and seemed to hide sometimes.
  • Phillips - 7 Started really well and was a threat but faded as he tired and also went into hiding.
  • Krovinovic - 6 Difficult to mark as he does everything nicely but as the creative player in a team not scoring enough he needs to find ways to not get crowded out.
  • Diangana - 6 A threat but unpredictable and at times was a bit too fancy. Barnes had the brutal efficiency last year, he needs to find a bit of it.
  • Austin - 6 Did well, showed good hold up play and created chances. Didn’t quite drop for him but feels like it will.
  • Pereira - 6 Threatening but still finding his feet. A good option.
  • Zohore - 7 Much more like it. Aggressive, worked hard, ran the channels and took his penalty well.
  • Edwards - 6 Such a clever player. Good cameo, might be worth a shout up top in a 4-4-2.