West Brom 1 Wolves 1 – Rapport – fr

West Brom 1 Wolves 1 – Rapport – fr

In a windswept hawthorn that at times was torrential downpours, Wolves opened the scoring in the first-half stoppage when Kyle Bartley’s clearance hit Fabio Silva before buckling on the goalie Sam Johnstone and into the net.

Sam Allardyce’s side were poor in the opening 45 minutes, with the side possibly suffering a hangover after conceding a draw with Villa so late last time around – a result which seriously damaged their hopes to achieve a great escape.

But they improved after the interval and reached the level when Mbaye Diagne managed a cross from Conor Townsend.

Both teams then pushed forward to find the winner the fans craved.

But as the weather got worse, so did football, with the match turning into a draw.

The result means the Baggies now have 10 safety points in the Premier League with just four games to go.

As Albion boss, Allardyce has shown a tendency to switch to a 3-5-2 formation when he comes up against a team that likes to play with a three-way back.

And he did it here with Dara O’Shea entering the center-back camp where he teamed up with Kyle Bartley and Semi Ajayi.

The tactical change means Matheus Pereira has moved from the right to join Diagne in the lead.

In midfield, Okay Yokuslu played the role of goalkeeper with Conor Gallagher and Ainsley Maitland-Niles on either side. Darnell Furlong and Conor Townsend were deployed as rear-fenders.

Albion’s plan to tie Wolves man-for-man came out of the window before kick-off, however, with Nuno creating a number of surprises with his starting XI.

The Portuguese manager hinted in his pre-match press conference that Wolves had “a lot of injury issues ahead of the game – and his team selection was unusual.

Going to a 4-2-3-1 formation, Silva got the nod as the lone center-forward ahead of Willian Jose.

In what were a very young team, Adama Traore started on the left wing with Vitinha, 21, as number 10 and Owen Otasowi, 20, on the right.

There were also four teenagers on the bench at Ki-Jana Hoever, Theo Corbeanu, Luke Cundle and Christian Marques.

Willy Boly was absent from the day’s squad – Nuno revealing the defender missed due to the long-term effects of Covid-19.

Wolves came into the game having to show a reaction after their grim loss to Burnley last time around, while Nuno’s side also had plans for revenge after losing the Black Country reverse derby in January.

And it was the visitors who started off the brighter of the two teams with Neves leading on goal before shooting wide in the opening minutes.

Romain Saiss then climbed the highest to cross a corner but his powerful header was straight on Sam Johnstone.

Albion responded with Furlong dragging a wide blow from the edge of the box after a good linking game.

But as the clock ticked past 20 minutes, it was the Wolves doing all the pushing and probing with Rayan Ait-Nouri dancing after three or four challenges to get into the box before finally being tackled.

As the rain continued to fall on The Hawthorns turf, the overall quality of the game remained poor as both teams struggled to find a real rhythm.

But as the half-hour approached, Wolves stepped up a gear and twice came close to opening the scoring.

Ajayi first intercepted a deep ball intended for Silva. But while reading this pass, the Nigeria international then lingered instead of giving clearance.

And that allowed Semedo to nip and win the ball before carrying it past Bartley to be left alone with Johnstone to beat.

After doing the hard work, the former Barcelona player really should have done the waving of the net.

But his powerful strike was too close to Johnstone who did well to beat the ball on the outside.

The Wolves threatened again moments later with Vitinha hitting a swirling strike from a distance that Albion’s keeper had to hit again.

And with his side now constantly attached, an unlucky Allardyce decided to make a change in the first half with Matt Phillips coming in and O’Shea the hapless man to give way.

This allowed Albion to switch to a 4-3-3 system with Phillips on the left flank and Pereira on the right.

And the change almost turned out to be a masterstroke with the Baggies just inches away from taking the lead moments later.

After Gallagher whipped up a smart cross, Diagne did well to meet the ball at the back post and plant a header on goal and passed Rui Patricio.

But taking a clever position just in front of the goal line, Saiss managed to kick out a boot and deflect the ball to safety.

Albion immediately looked more settled in their system. But it was the Wolves who, overall, had been the better team.

And they managed to put their noses ahead in the stoppage time of the first half.

First, Otasowie did well to bust Townsend before he found Vitinha.

And he produced a wonderful pass with the back of his heel to move the ball over to Semedo who then sought to pass it to Silva.

Bartley got their first and looked ready to crush the ball. But his clearance only succeeded in hitting Silva’s shin with the Portuguese striker and then getting a huge slice of luck as the ball looped over Johnstone and into the net.

It was the Wolves who started the second half on the front foot with Silva meeting a cross from Traore to see his header comfortably claimed by Johnstone.

Albion responded and created two glorious chances to level up within 60 seconds.

Pereira first took on a number of challenges to find an unmarked Townsend about eight yards away.

The full-back only had the goalie to beat. But as he hit a powerful effort towards the goal, he was too close to Patricio who pushed the ball away.

Then moments later, Phillips rolled the ball right in the face of the goal – with Gallagher ready to simply put it aside.

But his strike lacked conviction and was also the perfect height for Patricio who threw himself through the goal to repel the ball.

Wolves nearly doubled their lead on time with Silva leading on goal before heading to the bottom corner which Johnstone did well to push back.

And after surviving that fear, Albion went up the other end and leveled up in the 62nd minute.

It was Townsend who created it with the side-back whipping into a wonderfully inviting cross.

And an unmarked Diagne then nodded home after completely escaping the attention of Saiss who lost the attacker far too easily.

Nuno made his first change with just under 20 minutes left with Otasowie replaced by Podence. The Baggies then featured Callum Robinson for Maitland-Niles.

In the final stages, The Hawthorns was battered by wind and torrential rains.

With puddles of standing water appearing all over the pitch, it had come to the scene – with five minutes remaining – that the surface had become dangerous for the players.

And that meant – as both teams tried to push for a winner – the match ultimately turned into a draw, with the surface preventing both teams from playing at any pace.

Albion (3-5-2): Johnstone, Ajayi, Bartley, O’Shea (Phillips 33), Furlong, Yokuslu, Gallagher, Maitland-Niles (Robinson 78), Townsend, Pereira, Diagne.

Unused Submarines: Button, Peltier, Livermore, Sawyers, Diangana, Grant, Robson-Kanu.

Wolves (4-2-3-1): Patricio, Semdo, Coady, Saiss, Ait-Nouri (kilman 82), Vitinha (Gibbs-White 80), Dendoncker, Neves, Traoré, Silva, Otasowie (Podence 71).

Unused Submarines: Ruddy, Hoever, Cundle, Corbeanu, Marques, Jose.


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