The Baggies earned their second draw of the season against a resilient Burnley side.
There were chances for both teams throughout the game – Ashley Barnes forced two fantastic saves from Sam Johnstone, while former Baggie Chris Wood hit the bar twice.
Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira also forced saves from Nick Pope, as did Branislav Ivanovic, who impressed all-round on his Premier League debut for West Brom.
The first half was quite flat from both sides, albeit Albion undoubtedly dominated with 60% possession. New summer signing Karlan Grant almost had a dream debut after heading ball in the back of the net, latching onto Diangana’s wonderful floated from the left-hand side, only for it to be ruled marginally offside. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.Embed from Getty Images
The second half livened up and Burnley went closest through Wood and Barnes, though Albion nearly broke the deadlock with Diangana and Ivanovic going close several times in a classic goal-mouth-scramble.
Both sides have had poor starts to the season and can not be too disappointed with the result, though Bilic will feel his side could be more ruthless in front of goal.
It is also clear that a 4–3-3 formation remains Albion’s most dangerous set-up, especially with Gallagher and Krovinovic as duel number 8’s and Jake Livermore sitting in front of the back three.
Ivanovic also looks up to the task; he was vocal throughout, with Johnstone and the rest of the team; he won almost every aerial challenge and did not seem too phased by 90 minutes back in the Premier League. Ahmed Hegazi also looked back to his best, though he may be sacrificed for a quicker Semi Ajayi next week coming up against Brighton.Embed from Getty Images
Conor Townsend also looks up to the task of deputising for Kieran Gibbs when called upon, and a bright final five minutes from Matt Phillips suggests he could be a useful option from the bench as we go deeper into the season.
Darnell Furlong and Pereira weren’t at their usual best down the right flank today. Though Pereira will surely be let off, Bilic may want to think about bringing Dara O’Shea back into the team, with Gibbs on the left side, offering more defensive solidity in the right back position.
There are many positives Albion can take from the game, despite this and despite the result.
Albion fans have been saying this all season though, and we’re already six games in. You can’t help but feel that Albion may soon start to run out of games. There will soon come a time where Albion will have to start turning these positives into real points if they stand any chance of staying up this season.
Match Ratings: Johnstone (8); Furlong (4), Ivanovic (9), Hegazi (8), Townsend (6.5); Livermore (6), Gallagher (7), Krovinovic (6); Pereira (7), Grant (7), Diangana (7). Subs: Phillips (5), Sawyers (5), Robinson (6).
WBA: Johnstone; Furlong, Ivanovic, Hegazi, Townsend; Livermore, Gallagher, Krovinovic (Sawyers 79′); Pereira (Phillips 88′), Grant (Robinson 73′), Diangana.
Burnley: Pope; Pieters, Long, Tarkowski, Taylor; Gudmundsson (Brady 69′), Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Barnes (Rodriguez 77′), Wood.