West Bromwich Albion 4 - Middlesbrough 2

Date: Saturday 26th August 2023 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
(3-4-2-1) Palmer 6.5, Ajayi 6.2, Kipré 6.5, Pieters 5.8, Furlong 5.4, Molumby 6.6, Yokuslu 6.3 (Mowatt, 65 5.8), Phillips 7.3 (Townsend, 64 6.4), Wallace 5.7 (Sarmiento, 69 6.9), Swift 6.7 (Chalobah, 81 5.0), Thomas-Asante 6.8 (Maja, 65 5.7)
Unused subs: Griffiths, Bartley, Fellows, Ingram
Manager: Carlos Corberán  5.8
(4-2-3-1) Dieng, Smith, Fry, Lenihan, Engel, Howson, Hackney, Silvera (Forss, 72), Rogers (McNair, 59), McGree (Jones, 59), Latte Lath (Crooks, 72)
Unused subs: Jones, Barlaser, Gilbert, Coburn, Glover
Scorers: Kipré (22), Swift (28), Thomas-Asante (47), Sarmiento (91); Latte Lath (29), Forss (85 pen)
Referee: Jeremy Simpson 5.3
Attendance: 23,691   Home Fans 7.0   Away Fans 5.5
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 13

Brendan Clegg:

I absolutely loved that for entertainment - it had everything for a perfect afternoon. The Liquidator to kick us off, loads of goals, a red card, a dodgy penalty, a pitch invasion and a big 3 points.

I thought ‘Borough were really poor, much like I think a lot of the division will be.

By contrast we were pretty good, dominant from the off and for a lot of the game we managed the ball really well.

I was still frustrated a few times at our deliberate decisions not to cross it early when the chances were there but you can’t complain at 4 goals.

The worry for us and for Carlos will be how easy it was for our opponents to create big chances and score goals even when we seem in control. We have a soft underbelly and are vulnerable when put under pressure, and a combination of the woodwork and some solid goalkeeping from Palmer got us over the line.

On the phone-ins after the game a few people made the point that just because you have 5 subs you don’t have to make them. I agree and changing half an outfield team is inevitably going to lead to a lack of cohesion in the last 20. Let’s be honest, it also weakens us quite a bit. Okay can play badly but there isn’t anyone else who looks like they can do that role and we lose a lot without him. It has to be said that we also noticeably decline when Phillips is removed.

Corberan has a hard job though. A small squad… one that cannot cope with injuries to the first 11, he’s going to have to make difficult calls to manage all those risks.

All eyes to deadline day. It would be amazing if we could get a couple in who are going to really challenge the first 11 and, if we can move out some big earners and replace them with quality loans or find another Maja type, then we’ll have done brilliantly. Corberan didn’t sound confident of that or that we’d even retain everyone he’d want to.

A better start than I’d hoped for. If we can improve our away form a notch things might get interesting.

  • Palmer - 7 Solid again and loved him ripping into the others who’d slacked off.
  • Semi - 6 Some great passes and solid for a lot of it but they had too many chances.
  • Kipre - 6 Great goal, again it’s the lapses that are the problem.
  • Pieters - 6 Solid enough.
  • Furlong - 5 Can’t fault the energy or commitment but the quality of crossing… good grief
  • Molumby - 7 Looks like he’s getting fitter. Borough didn’t have anyone who could match him.
  • Okay - 6 Solid and in control.
  • Phillips - 8 I can’t recall ever seeing 4 o the bounce performances from him as good as this. Positionally, technically, athletically just at the top of his game and his decision-making has been spot on.
  • Wallace - 6 A bit better but the system doesn’t play to his strengths.
  • BTA - 7 Monster work rate, really good when we set traps and beat the press and another goal.
  • Swift - 7 Place under pressure and it’s healthy for us… he’s having to work really hard and he’s doing it to be fair.
  • Sarmiento - 6 Great goal, pushing for a start and looks ready.
  • Maja - 5 Still looks a few weeks away but once again showed flashes, that takedown in the box under pressure caught the eye.
  • Mowatt - 6 Ticked it over well.
  • Townsend- 5 Did okay but looked a lot weaker than Phillips
  • Chalobah - 5 Didn’t do much.

John Carter:

I'd just like to say how I appreciate the summaries of games from your contributors- Particularly Brendan - do keep them coming!