Albion slumped to a 3-0 defeat to local rivals Aston Villa in a fixture which outlined the scale of the task that new boss Sam Allardyce faces.
Allardyce opted to name an unchanged team to the side that earned an impressive point against Manchester City, as Dean Smith’s men welcomed back Matty Cash and Douglas Luiz from suspension.
Less than five minutes in, Villa winger’s Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi combined with the latter forcing the ball home at the near post.Embed from Getty Images
Villa controlled the match from the outset and despite not creating too many dangerous chances for the rest of the first-half, they were not required to get out of second gear with Jack Grealish, especially, showing his class.
The game was effectively over in the 37th minute when Albion skipper Jake Livermore was shown a red card by Martin Atkinson — after a VAR check — for foolishly fouling Grealish with intent to hurt the Villa man whilst also raising his studs.
There was argument for ex-Wolves centre half Kourtney House to be sent off too with his tackle on Grady Diangana possessing an element of danger, but it lacked the intensity and intent of Livermore’s.Embed from Getty Images
Villa deserved more in the second half as John McGinn headed narrowly wide and Ollie Watkins’ strike was very harshly ruled out for offside. El Ghazi was also denied by Albion stopper Sam Johnstone as he continued his impressive form.
The game was put beyond doubt by Traore, who latched onto a Grealish pass and slotted the ball into the bottom corner with great composure.
Villa added a third from the penalty spot after Grealish was brought down by Semi Ajayi, with El Ghazi scoring his second.Embed from Getty Images
The scoreline was nothing but deserved as Villa dominated the 90 minutes.
Match Ratings: Johnstone (6); Furlong (5), Ajayi (5), O’Shea (5); Gibbs (5), Gallagher (6), Sawyers (5), Livermore (1); Phillips (5); Grant (5), Diangana (5) Subs: Ivanovic (5), Robinson (5), Austin (5).
West Brom: Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, O’Shea, Gibbs; Gallagher, Sawyers, Livermore (C); Phillips (Austin 78′), Grant (Robinson 83′), Diangana (Ivanovic 78′).
Subs (not used): Button, Kipre, Peltier, Krovinovic, Grosicki, Edwards
Booked: Grant (62)
Villa: Martínez; Cash, Hause, Mings, Targett; Douglas Luiz, McGinn; Traoré, Grealish, El Ghazi; Watkins
Subs (not used): Steer, Taylor, Hourihane, Nakamba, Engels, Guilbert, El Mohamady, Davis, Ramsey
Booked: Hause (40), Mings (66)
Referee: Martin Atkinson