West Bromwich Albion needed a win but only got a draw, it’s almost-certain relegation fate getting closer and closer following a 1-1 draw with Wolves in a Black Country derby at a rain- and wind-smashed Hawthorns on Monday.
Mbaye Diagne’s second-half goal helped the Baggies to a 26th point on the season but West Brom will almost certainly be one-and-done in the PL, now 10 points back of 17th place with only four matches left.
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Fabio Silva scored for Wolves, whose disappointing campaign sits 12th with 42 points.
Both sets of players will leave the pitch frigid, soaked, and upset with only one point, West Brom fittingly sunk further toward the bottom in a torrential downpour.
Three things we learned from West Brom – Wolves
1. Baggies fate creeps closer: Sam Allardyce didn’t get much quality out of his men, though a formation change in the first half did allow some joy for substitute Matty Phillips, who worked well with Conor Townsend on the left. This wasn’t the same chance-leaking team it’s been all year, but it still required eight saves out of its keeper Sam Johnstone, who is the reason the Baggies weren’t down a month ago. Okay Yokuslu and Kyle Bartley have been steady in front of Johnstone, but Allardyce’s boys haven’t been notably better, perhaps even better at all, than Slaven Bilic’s crew.
2. What’s next for Fabio Silva? Raul Jimenez’s injury and Willian Jose’s tepid half-season have provided far more minutes for 18-year-old Fabio Silva than Nuno Espirito Santo planned when he signed the center forward. Silva’s goal Monday, his fourth, came in his most PL minutes since mid-January. If anything good can come out of his milquetoast season for Wolves, perhaps it’s accelerated comfort and growth for Silva.
3. Otasowie gets rare start: Nuno Espirito Santo has had his issues with 20-year-old USMNT player Owen Otasowie, but trusted the giant midfielder for a start on Monday. It was the second of his Premier League career and just his sixth appearance. He had a 33-touch appearance spent largely in advanced midfield positions on the right of the pitch, taking on several dribbles and seeing a shot blocked out for a corner. Otasowie won four-of-seven duels and drew two fouls in 71 minutes.
Man of the Match: Sam Johnstone
Give the man a hand. Many relegated teams see their keepers become stars due to the volume of shots faced, but Johnstone has been solid in both leading the Baggies up to the Premier League and doing his best to keep them there.
West Brom – Wolves recap
Sam Johnstone has required to make two saves on Vitinha, the second after the half-hour mark an especially strong save on a knuckling shot.
Romain Saiss soon popped a header over the bar off the ensuing corner kick, minutes after he nodded down to the keeper.
The first half-hour was all Wolves but West Brom brought threat in the final 15 minutes.
Mbaye Diagne came very close to putting the Baggies in front, cleared off the line by Saiss off a corner kick late in the half.
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But it was Wolves who went ahead through Silva, who chopped a shot off his opposite shin and past Johnstone.
Conor Townsend plugged a hard shot into the hands of Rui Patricio in the 54th as the Baggies fought for a necessary comeback.
Diagne put a powerful header on goal when Nelson Semedo stuck with Matty Phillips instead of following Townsend down the left flank for a cross into the heart of the box.
Otasowie then helped lead a move into the West Brom final third but the Baggies stayed firm in front of the ball.