West Bromwich Albion 2 - Derby County 0
An entertaining game I thought. Derby played their part by attempting to play decent football but really it helped us out.
Understandable changes from Bilic and after a bright start by Derby we started to penetrate them well, winning the ball high and then creating chances.
We were happy to let them have the ball and they popped it about nicely - I thought Rooney was clever and comfortable but he had no weapons to hit so was out of harm's way.
Our opener was lovely - we moved it quickly, Grosicki played a great pass and Grady showed quick feet to nip it past the keeper and slide it home.
The first half was then mostly us containing them but looking threatening on the break. We should probably have added another but the final finish was poor. Our work rate, led from the front by Austin was excellent and we didn't let Derby go anywhere.
Second half was much of the same, with the only real worry being that we didn't quite get the second goal despite some promising breaks.
As we made the changes our flow got disrupted a bit but the opportunities and situations kept coming and going. In the end a defensive cock-up led to a corner and O'Shea sprung their zonal setup by spinning unmarked to the near post and thumping a header home.
With the win in the bag we saw the game out, opting to keep the ball when chances for a 3rd seemed one forward pass away. No bother - it's nice to put a bit of pressure on Leeds. A big win and a big weekend coming up.
What a statement! I was worried about Derby in their current form, another banana skin. But for all their possession, we allowed them no shots on goal, nothing, nada.
As Super Slav said, this was a complete performance; solid defence and incisive attacking that should have brought more goals. But let's not be greedy. Pereira, Diangana and Grosicki were awesome, as was O'Shea, bless him (let's hope he sticks around, unlike our other ungrateful starlets, who sniff the big time - usually to their detriment).
There are only three teams that deserve to go up: us, Leeds and Brentford. Anything other than that will be a travesty, but 'deserve' means nothing. Three wins out of four will do it, and it may need that the way Brentford are playing. We shouldn't count Fulham out, but their task is harder.
Those losses against Wigan, Stoke and Middlesborough really hurt right now. We could be out of sight. BUT, we have found our game and if we can repeat today's performance three more times, we are UP!
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