Wolves – West Brom ended up being a topsy-turvy Black Country derby, as the Baggies secured their first win since Sam Allardyce took over as manager.
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West Brom took the lead early on through Matheus Pereira, but Wolves surged back as Fabio Silva and Willy Boly gave them the lead before half time. Two quick-fire West Brom goals turned the game on its head again as Semi Ajayi headed home and Pereira scored another penalty to seal derby delight for the Baggies which breathed new life into their relegation battle.
With the win, their second of the season, they have 11 points. Wolves are on 22 points and have now won just one of their last nine games.
Three things we learned
1. Allardyce blueprint taking shape: This was Allardyce-ball to a tee. The Baggies were set up to launch counters, play direct and make set pieces they count. Two goals came from penalty kicks and one from a long-throw to show the Allardyce blueprint is alive and well. West Brom’s fight against relegation has lift off, and with a few more shrewd buys in January they can get themselves out of trouble. Snodgrass added quality and there is clear plan and identity. Allardyce has never been relegated from the Premier League and West Brom are now just three points off safety.
2. Sloppy mistakes hitting Wolves hard: For the ninth game in a row they conceded the first goal and Wolves just cannot get a foothold in games. They fought back well in this one, but they are missing the cutting edge of Raul Jimenez and despite Neto and Adama Traore whipping in crosses and creating numerous set piece opportunities, Wolves never looked like scoring. At the other end, silly mistakes hit them hard with Coady and Boly giving away penalty kicks and they continue to switch off in set piece situations. Wolves could be sucked into a relegation battle if they don’t get back to doing the basics well.
3. Pereira, Robinson duo hold the key: West Brom will be well-organized and focus on set pieces and the forward duo Pereira and Robinson are key to them staying up. Robinson will be tasked with running the channels and getting in-behind, while Snodgrass and Pereira will then have to make clever runs and find pockets of space. If they can do that, West Brom can save themselves.
Man of the Match: Semi Ajayi – Scored a goal and cleared the ball, along with Kyle Bartley, time and time again. Brilliant defending.
Willy Boly drilled a low shot on target early on which David Button saved, while West Brom looked dangerous when launching direct balls into the box.
Boly then brought down Callum Robinson right on the edge of the box and a penalty kick was awarded by Michael Oliver. VAR checked the decision and the penalty stood, as Pereira slotted home.
Wolves woke up after falling behind, as David Button spilled a cross and the ball appeared to hit Kieran Gibbs on the hand but no penalty kick was given. Adama Traore then had a shot from distance saved.
The hosts continued to push for the equalizer as Pedro Neto set up Boly but he flicked just wide, but at the other end Robinson spurned a great chance as he was just onside but Rui Patricio smothered his close-range effort.
Just before half time Wolves equalized as Silva challenged for the ball, then Boly cleverly flicked it to him and the youngster slotted home. Boly then put Wolves ahead just before the break as he cleaned up clinically as West Brom failed to clear a corner.
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At the start of the second half West Brom bounced back superbly from going behind, as Ajayi headed home after a long throw was flicked on to make it 2-2 and moments later they were ahead.
Pereira then scored his second penalty kick of the game after Coady fouled Robinson, as the Baggies turned the game on its head.
Buoyed by their goals, West Brom flooded forward as Pereira and Romaine Sawyers went close.
Late on Pedro Neto created plenty of chances, and substitute Patrick Cutrone was inches away from scoring an equalizer but West Brom held on for a huge derby win.