West Bromwich Albion are now winless in their last four league games after they fell to a 1-0 defeat against promotion rivals Brentford.
Ollie Watkins’s 23rd goal of the season was enough to separate the two sides as Albion’s lead in the automatic promotion places has now been cut to five points from the Bees, who go up to third in the table after Fulham lost at Leeds.
There was one change for Albion from the 0-0 draw with Birmingham, which saw Grady Diangana come in for Callum Robinson.
It was a positive opening few minutes for the Baggies, with the returning Diangana threatening on the left-hand side, using some impressive skill to get away from Henrik Dalsgaard, but his cross fell onto the top of the net.
From that point on though, the Baggies fell very flat and were punished for it, as a sweeping Brentford counter-attack led to Josh Dasilva squaring the ball across to Watkins, who got in front of Ahmed Hegazi to slide the ball home.
At half time, Baggies boss Slaven Bilic brought on Kenneth Zohore, and it nearly turned out to be the perfect substitution when the Dane swivelled and unleashed a venomous effort that crashed against the crossbar.
Brentford, for the final part of the game, took control after surviving a long, dominant spell from Albion and should have wrapped the game up, but Josh Dasilva squirmed his shot wide after having time on the edge of the box.
Here’s how we rated the WBA players in the 1-0 defeat:
Sam Johnstone - 6
Made a couple of good punches out from crosses. Was poor with his kicking but wasn’t really tested with Brentford scoring with their only shot on target.
Darnell Furlong - 5
Furlong tried to provide his attacking threat but at times, it left Albion so exposed on the counter-attack against Said Benrahma.
Semi Ajayi - 6
Ajayi had a wobble in the first 20 minutes with him being very lucky to win a foul against Watkins, who would have been through on goal. Dusted himself down and was solid for the rest of the game, which helped Albion to not ship any more goals.
Ahmed Hegazi - 5
Was poor from the Egyptian to get beaten to the ball by Watkins for Brentford’s goal. Gave away a few cheap fouls and didn’t look comfortable at all during the 90 minutes.
Kieran Gibbs - 6
Gibbs was the best of a bad bunch. Got in to some nice positions on the left flank to support his teammates in attack, as-well as being assured in his defensive duties.
Jake Livermore - 4
Livermore hardly got involved in the game and looked very tired, which was concerning. Was dragged off early in the second half which is something you don’t want to see from a club captain.
Romaine Sawyers - 4
Sawyers, against his former club, just didn’t turn up. Struggled to impact the game at all playing in a deeper role and when on the ball, he made some erratic passes which cost possession.
Matheus Pereira - 6
Pereira seemed to be the only player really trying to force the opening. Had a few efforts that went over the bar and one that tested Bees goalkeeper Raya in the second half. Seemed isolated and wasn’t helped by his teammates, which was disappointing.
Matt Phillips - 3
Phillips was very lucky to keep his place from last week and he was dreadful again. End product was nowhere near good enough and a misplaced pass up the other end of the pitch allowed Brentford to counter Albion and score. Was replaced deservedly at half time.
Grady Diangana - 4
Diangana tried to make things happen but his end product let him down massively. Had a couple of poor efforts that sailed over and on a number of occasions, he mis-controlled the ball in key areas, which stopped the momentum in attack.
Hal Robson-Kanu - 4
Robson-Kanu got bullied by the Brentford centre backs Jansson and Pinnock. Every long ball up to him wasn’t held up by the Welshman, which made it hard for Albion to get forward a lot in the first half. Was another one replaced after the first 45 minutes.
Kenneth Zohore - 5 (subbed on 45')
Crashed the bar unluckily shortly after coming on. From that point onwards though, he didn’t impose himself up front and didn’t get a lot of the ball to make a difference.
Filip Krovinovic - 5 (subbed on 45')
Beefed up the midfield in the second half and moved the ball with a better tempo but he didn’t get as much of the ball as he would have liked to impact the game. Swung a terrible corner delivery over which wasted a chance near the end of the game.
Rakeem Harper - 5 (subbed on 66')
Harper was brought on to add more energy in midfield as he replaced the jaded Livermore. Was starved of the ball in the end which meant he couldn’t make a difference.
Callum Robinson - 5 (subbed on 79')
Robinson was moved up front for the last ten minutes of the game and hardly had a touch of the ball, which summed up Albion’s evening.
Kyle Edwards - N/A (subbed on 90')
Replaced Pereira late on but didn’t get a touch of the ball.