After the miserable 2-1 defeat to Bolton at the weekend, many fans viewed this match against Nottingham Forest as a chance for redemption. Sadly, it didn’t turn out that way.
The Baggies were ushered off the ball at almost every opportunity as Forest began to dictate the flow of the game, shooting on goal whenever they felt like it.
Adlene Guediora was to break the deadlock in the 59th minute with a strike from easily 25 yards out.
Questions need to be asked about Sam Johnstone yet again, as he failed to get down quick enough to a ball that took easily more than a second to reach the goal. Johnstone had also made the same mistakes against Bolton; for the first goal, he failed to get low in time to block Josh Magennis’ header, and for the second, he let Yanic Wildschut hook the ball in from mere yards away and failed to react on time to stop it.
Albion began to attack a lot more towards the end of the game, especially after the introduction of Dwight Gayle.
But the Baggies would have to wait until the 87th minute before a goal was scored, and what a goal it was! Matt Phillips rifled the ball into the top corner of the goal after the ball bobbled at his feet following a misplaced cross from Kieran Gibbs.
Many will claim that the Baggies undeservedly stole a point from the game tonight, but if it wasn’t for the attacking tenacity, it could’ve been far worse.
Here are the five biggest Albion-related talking points from the game:
Tosin Adarabioyo's debut for the Baggies
Adarabioyo’s first real contribution to the game was a backpass that went awry in the 37th minute and rolled to the feet of Lewis Grabban, who scrapped with Sam Johnstone for the ball before it was shot wide of goal.
Safe to say, it wasn’t the best of starts on his debut, but he soon settled down and began to find his feet in the match.
He’s certainly a more solid option at right-back than Allan Nyom, that’s for sure; he’s quicker, more agile, and far taller, meaning that he’s able to win more aerial battles, something that’s a vital trait for a defender to have in the Championship.
Dwight Gayle makes his first appearance
Gayle was brought on in the second half and made an immediate impact to the game. His movement off the ball lured defenders with him to open up Nottingham Forest’s defence, but sadly the Baggies failed to make anything of it.
He was identified as the main threat almost as soon as he stepped onto the pitch, and was deftly kept out of most of the action by Forest defenders – although he did hit the post in the 81st minute.
Allan Nyom dropped from the starting eleven
To put it bluntly, Allan Nyom was poor against Bolton last Saturday.
He played in his usual right-back position but felt like more of a liability than Hegazi and Bartley; the pair are still trying to forge a partnership, but any chemistry between the two is yet to be revealed.
The ball appeared to get caught up under Allan Nyom’s feet every time he received it, which naturally left the West Brom fans anxious to see what would happen every time the ball rolled in his direction.
The fact that he’s been dropped this week is a clear indication that Darren Moore felt the same.
Tosin Adarabioyo, the youngster on loan from Manchester City, took his place tonight against Forest and left a positive impression, which makes you wonder if Nyom will get his place back anytime soon.
Hal Robson-Kanu switched out for James Morrison
Hal Robson-Kanu was just as ineffective in the game against Bolton as Nyom.
Chances came and went for the Wales international, and ultimately there was very little to show for the full 90 mins he played.
The competition between West Brom’s strikers for a place in the starting lineup is very strong, so for Robson-Kanu to have put in such a poor performance at the weekend raises some questions as to whether he actually has what it takes to be there in the first place.
As Darren Moore opted for a 4-4-1-1 tonight, James Morrison took his spot in the team, with Jay Rodriguez as the lone striker.
Robson-Kanu was subbed on in the 93rd minute and obviously made no impression on the game with such little time remaining.
One major problem that has surfaced in the current West Brom team is that there isn’t a solid central midfielder to pair up with Jake Livermore.
Currently, Darren Moore is using Chris Brunt, but he’s more of a passenger to the play when utilised in that role. He watches the ball go by and offers very little to his teammates when he’s stuck in the centre of the pitch.
James Morrison showed us what we’d been missing in the CAM position, but he was soon surrounded by Forest players once they had clocked onto how integral he is to the tactics.
An agile, skilful midfielder is needed in the centre of the park before the window slams shut on Thursday. Moore needs to act fast.
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