West Bromwich Albion 4 - Bristol City 1
Brilliant win tonight. I was a bit worried about City's great form coming into the game, but despite them closing the gap to 2-1, only one team deserved the points. It was such a great all round performance, but the stand out moments were Diangana's backheel for Gibbs's goal and, just when you thought that couldn't be topped, Pereira's sublime free kick. The only blemishes - a brief spell early in the second half when Bristol pressed and then their scrambled goal. Otherwise it was total dominance. I am starting to think that only a run of bad luck with injuries will stop us finishing in the top 2.
Most summer signings have been awesome. We need some luck to hang on to Diangana and Fergie. Plus, Chairman Lai needs to roll the dice and sign one more striker. Cut your losses Mr Lai and get rid of Burke and Zohore.
Another impressive performance tonight. We were a joy to watch at times.
Some big calls for Bilic - Ferguson at right back when Furlong has done little wrong and Gibbs in at left back. Livermore and Sawyers back in the centre and HRK up top again.
I thought Bristol started well and were decent in the first half. They pressed us really high, prevented Sawyers getting on the ball early and did a lot of doubling up on Diangana and Pereira. I also thought they passed the ball really well at times right through the pitch until they got to our defensive third, when they became toothless.
By contrast we scored with our first meaningful attack - and it was a really lovely goal. HRK playing Diangana who gave Gibbs a tap in with a backheel across the keeper from a wide one-v-one position.
And although Bristol had a lot of the ball we looked a threat whenever we went forward - Dianga hitting the post and others perhaps over-cooking opportunities as Livermore and Sawyers eased themselves into it and began to take control of the game.
Pereira's free kick was sublime. He deftly clipped it over the wall and into the top corner from 18 yards - all about accuracy and with no power at all.
The half ended with us cruising really.
Second half Bristol squeezed right up - playing the highest possible line and penned us in for 10-15 minutes but again after we weathered that HRK began to get his timing right - darting in behind their high line and then playing in our onrushing quicker players even when he couldn't get away from them himself. It's fair to say we carved them open a umber of times but squandered decent chances in that middle period of the half.
After our period of controlled dominance Bilic began to ring the changes and we conceded a bit of a cheap goal from a corner on 80 minutes.
As Austin stripped off to come on, Phillips awoke from his slumber to turn powerfully and galloped down the wing before crossing for HRK to nudge in a deserved goal. This totally knocked the stuffing out of Bristol and Austin bagged a fourth as we cantered to victory.
A really good showing. We're being spoiled really and I thought the crowd were a little subdued. The partnerships all over the pitch seem really settled now and the patterns of play and traps to suck the opposition in and then play through them are tactically really impressive.
What a joy it is to an Albion fan at the moment! Not just because we keep winning games, but for the style of football we are playing. So much class right across the team now and with quality on the bench.
For the first half I thought there was only one team in with sublime goals to boot. Second half we turned down the gas, but then turned it up again once we needed to.
I thought the Mighty Brendan was slightly mean in his player marks. I thought most if not all deserved at least an 8, but then perhaps I'm dreaming in a Baggies Wonderland...
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