West Brom’s 2-0 win over Derby County on Wednesday means that they have now secured three wins from three at a critical stage in the season: the race for promotion.
The heavy rain made conditions tough out on the field, but once Albion got the upper-hand through Diangana’s first-half opener, they could settle down for cruise control.
The second goal came from Dara O’Shea’s bullet header from a Matheus Pereira corner, putting the game to bed and sending Derby back home with their chances of securing a play-off spot hanging in the balance.
Here is how we rated the players.
Sam Johnstone – 7
Steadily improving his consistency throughout the game now and making less mistakes. Had very little to do except from scoop up loose balls and take a few goal-kicks here and there — Derby failed to register a shot on target.
Dara O’Shea – 9
O’Shea is quickly becoming a key player for the Albion at right-back, and has already surpassed Nathan Ferguson in both quality and threat in the position. His goal settled the Albion players’ nerves and sealed all three points.
Kyle Bartley – 7.5
Bartley was solid at the back in this game, which was fortunately a far-cry from the awkward defending we saw from him against Hull City last weekend. His work alongside Semi Ajayi was a joy to watch.
Semi Ajayi – 8
Like Bartley, Ajayi put in a solid shift for Albion, but has a slightly higher score for posing more of a threat going forward; he was up amongst the action for every set-piece and really troubled Derby’s players. He was unlucky not to come away with a goal from this match.
Conor Townsend – 7
Stepped in for the injured Kieran Gibbs and did a very good job. Whenever he got the ball and the Albion team were on the offensive, he kept finding Kamil Grosicki as soon as possible which really helped in sparking rapid counter-attacks.
Jake Livermore – 7
Livermore was very much back to form in this match, working well alongside Sawyers in controlling a hectic midfield. He also got forward quite often as well, which isn’t something you tend to see from him, but he added another dimension to the counter-attacks which ultimately had a positive effect.
Romaine Sawyers – 8
Sawyers is the player who makes everything tick in the midfield, and if he was suddenly absent, I’m sure that the team would implode. He dictates the tempo of the game from the heart of the pitch and although his passes appear simple and mundane, they are often what initiates an attack. He did all of this very well during the Derby game.
Kamil Grosicki – 7
Grosicki was really given the chance to showcase his raw speed against Derby on the left flank and his nickname (‘Turbo’) was suddenly widely understood by all those who watched him on Wednesday. He provides a real threat on the offensive, working alongside the likes of Pereira and Diangana — you can’t help but feel sorry for the opposition defenders.
Matheus Pereira – 8.5
Yet again, one of the best players on the pitch; he weaved in and out of defenders, found passes that didn’t seem available to most spectators, and swung in the corner ball that O’Shea nodded home for the second goal. Pereira showed once more that he is too good for the Championship.
Grady Diangana – 8
Scored the opening goal, after latching onto a through-ball from Grosicki, and was a constant thorn in the side of the Derby defence. Unfortunately, he was subbed off as a precaution after he picked up a knock, but he was very good up until that point.
Charlie Austin – 6
Austin was running constantly in the early stages of the match, pressing the Rams defenders and being a general nuisance, before switching roles with Pereira before half-time. He was taken off at the hour-mark and will be disappointed not to have contributed more to the game.
Callum Robinson – 6
Replaced the injured Diangana and started off brightly but once he was asked to defend, he struggled and was far too reluctant to put a foot in which led to Derby’s attackers sliding past him far too easily.
Filip Krovinovic – N/A
Matt Phillips – N/A