West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns on New Years Day with both sides showing why they are top of the table and looking certainties for automatic promotion.
Semi Ajayi put the hosts ahead after less than two minutes but the big Nigerian then scored an own goal with a Patrick Bamford header deflecting off the centre back to level the scores.
Both Leeds and West Brom had various half chances to win the game but a draw was a fair result in truth. There were plenty of good performances from the players in blue and white and here we take a look at their player ratings:
SAM JOHNSTONE – 7
Didn’t have too much to do and was helpless for the goal as he was left wrong-footed following the slight deflection. Made a good save from Bamford late on at his near post.
DARNELL FURLONG – 7
Really making the right-back spot his own of late. Made a number of lung-bursting runs and always a good outlet out wide. Also made some good defensive headers during the game.
SEMI AJAYI – 7
A true presence in both boxes. Was unfortunate that the header deflected off him for the equaliser but provided a towering header to open the scoring. Much improved on recent weeks.
KYLE BARTLEY – 7
Came in for Ahmed Hegazi following injury and won plenty of battles against his former side. Led from the front and was a real leader in defence. Has become a vital member of the team this season.
KIERAN GIBBS – 5
Only lasted a little over 15 minutes due to another injury setback. Gibbs is undoubtedly one of the best full-backs in the league but is constantly ravaged with injury problems. A real shame for the experienced defender.
JAKE LIVERMORE – 6
Sometimes outnumbered and overran by the powerful and pacy Leeds midfield. He and Sawyers were both not at their best but once again the captain’s endeavour and effort was never in question.
ROMAINE SAWYERS – 6
Could easily have won a penalty in the first half when he was hauled down inside the area. Certainly showed calmness and composure in possession as usual.
FILIP KROVINOVIC – 5
Played out wide to allow Pereira to play in his more favoured central role but this wasn’t one of his better performances. Always a willing runner but seemed to get overpowered by the Leeds full-backs.
MATHEUS PEREIRA – 7
Even when not quite at his best he is still a constant menace with his quality. Almost scored a sublime free-kick similar to earlier in the season. His energy and athleticism are always to be admired.
MATT PHILLIPS – 6
Definitely a case of ‘what if’ for the winger. Had a glorious chance when one-on-one with Casilla and really should have scored. His set-piece deliveries were also much better than in recent weeks.
HAL ROBSON-KANU – 7
Held the ball up well and linked up with the midfield on a number of occasions. Tended to tire in the second half but he frustrated the Leeds defenders.
CONOR TOWNSEND – 6
Was thrust into the limelight when replacing Gibbs but did well considering the team he was playing against. Had to stay focused when dealing with Helder Costa but performed well.
KYLE EDWARDS – 6
Due to the danger of the Whites’ wingers, Edwards had to ensure he helped Townsend in his defensive duties. Could also have scored a winner and made various good forward runs.