Stoke City 0 - West Bromwich Albion 2
||Monday 4th November 2019
||Sky Bet Championship
||(5-3-2) Butland, Smith, Carter-Vickers, Batth, Lindsay (McClean, 61), Ward, Ndiaye (Duffy, 82), Allen, Clucas, Campbell (Ince, 74), Vokes|
Unused subs: Federici, Hogan, Powell, Collins
, Furlong , Ajayi , Bartley , Townsend , Livermore , Sawyers , Phillips (Brunt, 83 ), Pereira (Krovinovic, 62 ), Diangana , Austin (Robson-Kanu, 62 )|
Unused subs: Bond, Zohore, Edwards, Hegazi
Manager: Slaven Bilic
||Phillips (8), Robson-Kanu (69 pen)
||22,360 Home Fans
Away Fans |
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||Ratings submitted so far: 16
I absolutely loved that - so much to be proud of and the only criticism is we should really be winning by more.
I thought this would be the game when Slav changed Austin for Zohore but the only player to come in was Townsend for the banned Ferguson - at his age probably not bad to have a few games out of it.
We settled really early, the balance of the team was good and the early signs were that our attacking 3 behind Austin were finding all the pockets of space to hurt Stoke.
The goal came from another (!) Livermore assist-assist ball (I thought Sawyers was the king of this?) with Diagana showing great feet to get the cross in and Phillips arriving at the back post again for a tap in.
We looked a class above Stoke for the half and they resorted to bullying, physically roughing us up and set plays. Despite pressure, some ropey moments and perhaps overly lenient refereeing allowing too may bad tackles against us, we stood up well to it and should've done more from great situations. Only once did we bite - Livermore losing his rag to earn a booking.
After half time the subs came early but they were good calls again - HRK for Austin and Krov for Pereira, who had been kicked all over the pitch and had got a bit sloppy. These quelled the Stoke rally and soon we earned a pen from an utterly disgraceful tackle on Diagana - a leg breaker had he planted his foot properly.
After HRK gentle popped in the pen he should've added another when an art-installation of a pass from Sawyers sent Phillips away and his cross was headed onto the post.
We generally smothered the game from there on out, keeping possession and holding Stoke at bay whilst being the team most likely to score.
Solid but entertaining, toe-to-toe physically, easy on the eye, relentlessly hard working, possession-based, tactically variable/interesting and with a lovely blend of experience and youth, patience and pace. The games can't come quick enough.
- SJ - 7 Solid game, no faults in this performance.
- Furlong - 7 Runs and runs, maybe was a bit too shot happy but good both ways.
- Ajayi - 7 Lost a few headers but won everything around the back and brave on the ball.
- Bartley - 7 Playing at his best level every week and keeping the league's best centre-back out of the team. Defensively excellent and working really hard on the ball.
- Townsend - 7 I thought he did a really solid job. Brave, great use of the ball, never stopped running.
- Sawyers - 8 His only weakness seems to be that aerial ball over his shoulder and his reluctance to compete for it. Everything else was so classy. A dream to play behind because he always gives you an option.
- Livermore - 8 Churning out his best ever performances for us. He wins sprints, he releases our attackers, he plays the tempo right, he still has that physical advantage without being bulky.
- Phillips - 7 Another good goal and playing as high and centrally as he's allowed. Our one player seemingly given a free pass but he's repaying it in goals.
- Pereira - 7 Love how he's up for it physically. Eventually lost his way under the constant constant fouls and physical attention but created so much space for others,
- Dianga - 8 Let's be honest, if we were West Ham fans we'd be demanding him back so it's going to happen. He has the fastest feet I've ever seen. How far that carries his career depends on how much he improves in other areas but they couldn't live with him.
- Austin - 6 Worked hard. Can't fault his effort or leadership but it's time to give Zohore a run of 10 games because he can't keep up with the others and teams better than Stoke squeeze us higher and take him out of it.
- Krov - 7 Just the tonic at the time - kept it well and made them chase shadows.
- HRK - 7 Another valuable cameo but do not fall for him deserving a start. It never works - keep giving him 30 mins of effective play from the bench.
- Brunt - 7 Didn't give it away once and saw the result out.