Semi Ajayi was one of the West Bromwich Albion players praised for his performance in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
The 27-year-old started alongside Dara O’Shea at centre-back and delivered a tremendous display in keeping Pep Guardiola’s side at bay. Ajayi put his body on the line to block shots, made nine clearances over the 90 minutes and played his part in Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero failing to register a shot on target at the Etihad Stadium.
He also played a huge part in West Brom’s equaliser just before half-time, his shot deflecting off Ruben Dias and rolling into the Man City net for the goal which ultimately secured a point for the Baggies.
Against Man City, Ajayi had 29 touches, blocked two shots, made one tackle and committed one foul (as per WhoScored). The home side had 26 shots, but only seven of them hit the target and Sam Johnstone was equal to all but one of them.
Given Ajayi’s statistics, it was little wonder that these West Brom fans on Twitter were hailing the “excellent” display from an “absolute colossus”:
Ajayi wasnt great v newcastle but was an absolute colossus tonight #WBA
— Andrew Beech (@beechyboy90) December 15, 2020
Semi Ajayi and O’Shea shout outs. Excellent tonight 👏🏻 #wba
— Toni (@tonilou___) December 15, 2020
I think you can stop the votes for Albion's POTY, but a special mention for Ajayi and O'Shea tonight. Both were absolutely terrific. #wba
— Joe Chapman (@ChapmanJ92) December 15, 2020
Semi Ajayi MOTM away at City in the Premier League. £1.5 mil. #wba
— Graham Johnny (@gjaywilkinson) December 15, 2020
Ngl don’t think Bartley and Ivanovic get anywhere near that team when Ajayi and O’Shea play as well as they did #wba
— Kyle Johnson (@KyleJohnsu) December 15, 2020
A worthy mention for Ajayi who I’ve always liked his athleticism, he’s just extremely raw and needs coaching and experience. He has potential to be a really good centre half, I hope he does continue to develop #WBA
— Mark Abel (@MarkAbel_28) December 15, 2020
3️⃣ Blocked Shots
2️⃣ Blocked Shots
⭐️ Man of the Match
— Alex Newton (@AlexRobNewton) December 15, 2020
Ajayi has made 12 Premier League appearances this season, amassing 1,080 minutes of playing time. The £4.5m-rated defender been a regular at the back but has played with different partners (O’Shea, Branislav Ivanovic, Kyle Bartley) to little avail.
West Brom have the worst defensive record in the Premier League this season, with 26 goals conceded from 13 games, but Ajayi showed on Tuesday that he has the potential to be an effective defender at this level.
In other news, West Brom fans were full of praise for another player after the draw with Manchester City.