This was yet another must-win game for the Baggies and so it was a great relief for everybody when the final whistle blew at the end of this back and forth encounter.
Hull City were surprisingly gung-ho in this match, piling the pressure on from the moment Charlie Austin put Albion ahead in the 4th minute; and the West Bromwich defence that had only conceded twice in five games buckled under the pressure several times.
If it wasn’t for the Albion strikers peppering the goal at the other end, questions might have been asked about the goalkeeper and defence who were unusually sloppy at times.
That aside, West Brom played with a dominance that simply tore Hull City apart — particularly in the second-half — and the need for all three points to retain an automatic promotion spot was a very strong incentive.
Albion are now five points ahead of Brentford, who sit in third after a string of impressive results; and just a single point off league leaders Leeds United.
Sam Johnstone – 6.5
Johnstone’s tendency to clamber above the heads of players to only punch the ball away is an issue, and it allowed Hull to score from the edge of the box as a direct consequence. He made some brilliant saves in the second-half but these were largely overshadowed by his errors.
Dara O’Shea – 7
Once again, the young academy graduate was selected at right-back and he showcased exactly why Bilic has so much faith in him. He worked well with the rest of the backline in keeping organised, but also performed his solo duties well, obstructing the opposition forwards and ensuring they don’t slip past. He’s improving with each game.
Kyle Bartley – 6.5
For the second game in a row, Bartley has put in an excellent shift alongside Ahmed Hegazi. This seems to be the perfect partnership, based off recent performances, and is likely one that Bilic will stick with until the end of the season at this rate.
Ahmed Hegazi – 7
The Egyptian Giant was sound defensively and even got forward to grab a goal from a set-piece. He was shown a second yellow in the dying embers of the match, unfortunately, but he did very well up until that dampener.
Kieran Gibbs – 6
Gibbs worked well with Grosicki on the left flank before pulling up with a hamstring injury that could rule him out for the rest of the season. It’s an awful way to end the campaign and Gibbs will be incredibly frustrated to be sidelined yet again, just when things were looking up for him.
Romaine Sawyers – 6.5
Largely anonymous for much of the game, Sawyers was a shadow of the the player we saw against Sheffield Wednesday midweek, and was substituted in the second-half as a result.
Rekeem Harper – 7
Harper has been getting better with each match, showing the doubters just how good he can be, both as a defensive midfielder and as a midfielder who can carry the ball into attacking areas. He needs some shooting practice, though, as he blazed over two virtual sitters from the edge of the box.
Filip Krovinovic – 7
Linked up well with his teammates and posed a threat in the final third with his long-ranged efforts on goal. His performances have gone under the radar recently with players like Pereira basking in the limelight, but he’s still playing well.
Matheus Pereira – 9
It’s games like this that make you wonder how Pereira has ended up in a division he is simply far too good for: he plays incredible through-balls that nobody else has seen were there; he keeps the goalies on their toes with his long-ranged accuracy; and he makes a mockery of defenders as he glides past them with ease. Sublime.
Kamil Grosicki – 8
Started off rather sloppily and failed to see golden opportunities to set up Austin and Pereira but once he settled down, he was a force to be reckoned with. And he topped off the solid performance with a goal against his former side.
Charlie Austin – 8
Austin’s opener gave Albion just the confidence they needed to push on and he was a thorn in the side of the defenders virtually the entire match. It’s also surprising just how much stamina he has: he doesn’t stop running!
Conor Townsend – 7
Came on for the injured Kieran Gibbs and injected some raw pace and energy down the left flank, linking up well with Grosicki and, later, Diangana.
Jake Livermore – 6
Replaced Romaine Sawyers in the defensive midfielder role and saw the game out well.
Hal Robson-Kanu – 6
Still without a goal from several matches, but looked livelier today against a tired Hull defence. Unfortunate not to add to the scoring.
Chris Brunt – 7
Brunt’s experience was as invaluable as ever and his presence seemed to relax the Albion side.
Grady Diangana – 7
As rapid and as dangerous as ever out on the left, the Hull defence didn’t know what to do with him. He also grabbed himself a goal later on.