West Bromwich Albion clambered back into form last night as they recorded yet another Championship victory to move them into the play-off positions.
It marks the Baggies’ tenth victory in their last 12 league games and a redemption result as their only loss during that period (other than to league leaders Burnley) was against the team they defeated last night, Coventry City.
In a close-fought encounter at The Hawthorns, the Sky Blues battled well to trouble the hosts on numerous occasions. Despite this, it was Grady Diangana’s strike on 15 minutes which separated the teams at the final whistle.
His close-range finish was one of just three shots on target for Carlos Corberan’s side, but the Baggies boss will once again revel in a display which afforded just one shot on target from the opposition and warranted another clean sheet.
Should the 39-year-old mould his team into a more clinical and creative outfit, combined with the defensive foundations already in place, he could be prepared to take the Premier League by storm.
One of few villains from last night played a large role in this lack of proficiency, as Daryl Dike endured one of his toughest games in a West Brom shirt.
Did Dike let you down tonight?
The American was comfortably the worst-performing starter from the home side and deservedly earned his 6.1 Sofascore rating before being dragged off in the 59th minute. Indeed, journalist Elias Burke took to Twitter to claim that the 22-year-old had “looked pretty sluggish” before his substitution.
That lethargy translated into his influence, which was almost non-existent. In his time on the field, Dike only managed eight touches of the ball, three of which were completed passes. Even goalkeeper David Button managed more; in fact, his tally of touches (30) was almost quadruple that of the ex-Orlando City striker.
Dike’s lack of impetus to get involved could be forgiven if he were not so integral in squandering the few golden opportunities which fell his way. Despite having such a minuscule number of touches, the 22-year-old still managed to miss two big chances, which almost cost Corberan and Albion.
Winning by such a small margin is often satisfying, but had the visitors scored themselves, West Brom would have rued those chances that their American marksman fluffed.
This showing might offer proof that he is not the sole answer to the club’s striking woes, and that perhaps Karlan Grant’s failed deadline day move to Swansea City might be a blessing in disguise. He couldn’t have done much worse than his team-mate last night, even if the 25-year-old is desperately out of form, having not scored since August.