West Bromwich Albion snapped their 20 game winless run in the league with a very comfortable win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Hawthorns. It was the Baggies’ first win since August as well as their first under Alan Pardew.
Johnny Evans, back in the XI to replace Gareth McAuley, gave WBA the perfect start, heading home from Jay Rodriguez’s deft flick at the near post to give his side the lead in the 4th minute itself. Craig Dawson’s brilliant header 10 minutes into the second half ensured that the 3 points stayed at Hawthorns. It was a vital victory for Pardew’s men, as they are 2 points off safety, albeit still in 19th position.
Although WBA started as the better team, Brighton grew into the game as the first half progressed, enjoying decent possession but lacked the cutting edge in the final third, not testing Ben Foster even once in the opening 45 minutes. Dawson had a chance to double his side’s lead but Ryan was quickly off his line to smother the chance.
Brighton had their best chance of the game fall to Anthony Knockaert who should’ve scored when Murray fed him in the box only for him to sky his effort high and wide with the goal gaping. Rondon had a couple of good chances in the second half, and could only find the side netting after Gareth Barry played him in down the left side.
Ben Foster- 7/10
Had just one save to make, a long shot from Bruno that was almost straight at him. Came off his line a few times to get the ball when Brighton played the occasional long ball.
Ahmed Hegazi- 8/10
Excellent all round play from the Egyptian, as he made a few good interceptions, didn’t get out of position and was composed on the ball.
Johnny Evans- 7.5/10
Marked his return with a simple goal, and was solid defensively. Hopefully, his substitution towards the end was a mere precaution and nothing serious.
Craig Dawson- 8/10
Scored a brilliant header, and marshalled his flank very well. Combined well with Philips whenever he ventured forward. Also produced a wonderful block on Dunk’s effort from close range.
Kieran Gibbs- 7/10
Solid but unspectacular display from the former Arsenal man. Didn’t offer much going forward but was always tight on Knockaert.
Matt Philips- 7.5/10
Created the first goal with a well-taken corner and was always a threat down the right.
Gareth Barry- 8/10
Dominated the midfield with fine poise, and split the Seagulls’ defence with some raking passes and delightful touches.
Grzegorz Krychowiak- 7.5/10
One of his better displays in the striped shirt. Played slightly ahead of Barry and helped in the attacking buildup by getting into pockets of spaces between the Brighton defence and midfield.
Chris Brunt- 7/10
Got the assist for another well-taken corner, and offered good width throughout the game down the left-hand side.
Jay Rodriguez- 7/10
Created Evans’ goal with a clever flick from a corner routine and was a handful for the opposition defenders throughout with his strength and movement.
Salomon Rondon- 8/10
Excellent attacking display from the Venezuelan, making himself a nuisance whenever he could. Played off the last man and got into great positions and was unlucky to not get a goal, especially in stoppage time when he displayed his strength and desire to turn 2 defenders and narrowly missed the target.
Jake Livermore (Rodriguez 79’) – 6/10
Came on to shore up the midfield as Pardew opted to shut up shop.
Allan Nyom (Dawson 81’) – 6/10
Came on as a result of an injury and did nothing of note aside from one powerful run to win a corner.
Gareth McAuley (Evans 83’) – N/A
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