West Brom but on a calm and collected performance today at the Bet 365 Stadium. What was an evenly distributed game with 51% / 49% possession favouring Stoke, became a display of class and experience from the West Brom players.
Dwight Gayle got himself on the scoresheet in the 25th minute with a well-worked set-piece straight off the training ground. It started with Johansen who drifted the ball into the back post from a free kick 25 yards out, only to find an eager Hegazy who elegantly tapped the ball across the face of goal, eventually landing on the head of Dwight Gayle just 3 yards out. Unmissable.
Then it was a game of control for Darren Moore’s side. Previously West Brom have struggled to keep clean sheets with a total of only 4 clean sheets this season. Stoke looked defeated after every attack was cut out by either a hard-working midfield or a stone wall back four. The Baggies never looked under any threat or discomfort.
Here’s how we rated the West Brom players from the game.
Sam Johnstone - 7
Stoke only had one shot on target giving Johnstone little to do throughout the game. The Baggies number 1 distributed the ball well and played out from the back comfortably. Respectable Performance.
Kieran Gibbs - 6
Played well as a unit. Kept a strong line, made a few runs down the line but no individual brilliance.
Ahmed Hegazy - 6
Assisted the goal to bring home the 3 points. Firm and solid performance, however, lacked urgency and found himself caught in possession on multiple occasions.
Craig Dawson - 8
Battled well throughout and was always aware of his surroundings. Prevented many Stoke attackers from getting on the end of dangerous crosses. Deserved the clean sheet.
Mason Holgate - 8
Another top performance from Holgate who is making the West Brom defence more secure every game and the attack more threatening simultaneously. Pushed forward menacingly to deliver balls into the centre of the Stoke City box.
Stefan Johansen - 8
Created the first goal with a fantastic ball from a free kick into Hegazy, straight from the training ground. Looked in control for most of the game and was at the heart of most attacks.
Gareth Barry - 8
Frequently re-gained possession in the West Brom half and kept an unbreakable midfield in check. Superb leader in the middle.
Jake Livermore - 6
Fitness was vastly improved. Livermore never looked tired however didn’t make a massive impact on the game.
Jacob Murphy - 5
Murphy’s debut left little to be desired. Consistently losing the ball and never hitting the target man from a cross, there is much improvement to be made, however, he made sure to get involved with breaks and provided an option for simple passes.
Jay Rodriguez - 6
Had the chance to make it 2-0 before the break, but failed to hit the target. Put significant pressure on the back line but never showed any individual talent going forward.
Dwight Gayle - 7
Scored the winner from a neatly worked set-piece. Constantly battled up front to win the ball in dangerous areas. Could have tested Jack Butland more.