Player Ratings: WBA v Millwall (Cup)

#23
Maybe m wallace and pearce at the back, so we can have two quick full backs? If Jiri is to play in the first team at the expense of? I assume Jed Wallace if we play 442, and possible in a 5 in a 451 away, With JD playing behind one striker?
 
#24
Steele: 6: Took nine minutes for the debutant to make his first mistake of the night, getting his arms in a Archer-like knot and pushing a shot onto the bar for an Albion debutant to score simply from the rebound. But after that error against his old club, he composed himself to do what little that was asked of him competently. Kicking a bit iffy.

Ferguson: 7.5: Played most of the game left back, but moved on to the right wing late on. Comfortable and composed all night.

Murray: 8: Won virtually everything in the air and mopped up on the ground. Struggled only in first ten minutes when we lacked cover. But, otherwise, carried on from where he left off on Saturday.

Hutch: 6.5: Nowhere near his imperious old self of two seasons ago. One of three Millwall players who were at fault for West Brom's shambolic opening goal, failing to clear when he should have done. Grew into the game as it went along and, by the end, some of the rust had been removed.

McCarthy: 8.5: An outstanding debut by the new signing from Wycombe. He played to the Championship born, showing both intelligence and no little ability on and off the ball. Though starting at right back, spent some time on the left also, perhaps as an experiment, and was equally at home on either flank. His first tackle ended an Albion foray and from that moment he ensured nothing would pass.

Skirik: 9: A man-of-the-match, fabulously disciplined performance from a player who looked every inch the Czech International he is. Barely gave the ball away, always frightening West Brom with his direct running, or his ability to quickly switch play. And on top of that, got back time and time again to do the dirty work with some excellent defending, especially in the last ten minutes when the home side threw everything at us. Took the perfect in-swinging free kick which it would have been rude not to have scored from. Brilliant. And like having a new signing.

Molumby: 8: Another very good debut, the 20-year-old making it look almost unbelievable that his previous senior appearances mounted to just two League Cup run-outs for Brighton. Played as though the position was his, and had been for a long time. Even having the confidence to tell the referee where he got it wrong. Fantastic energy just in front of the back four, and used the ball to excellent effect. This boy can play - and tackle - and I'll be surprised if we don't see a lot more of him.

Leonard: 6: Tried to spend the first part of the game playing the Thompson forcing role. But time and time again his passing let him down. The Albion goal began with us on the attack and instead of playing it simple, he attempted a dangerous cross-fielder - always behind the Millwall man - which was intercepted and eventually ended with the ball in the back of our net. Much better when he dropped deeper and had to get the odd important tackle in. His passing, especially after Saturday, a cause for concern.

AOB: 7: A pretty neat and tidy performance, seemingly told to concentrate on doing the simple things which, by and large, he did well. Even got back and defended well to concede a corner. Was on hand to bundle the ball over the line from a corner, something of a speciality of his...

Icebod: 6.5: Nothing like as impressive as Saturday, his first touch letting him down slightly too often and his shielding of the ball was, frankly, poor. Also had a great chance to score in the first half but hesitated and the moment was lost. Improved in the last 15 minutes or so when he played as lone striker, a roll he seemed to enjoy. Used the ball far better then.

Bradshaw: 8: At last broke his duck for Millwall. Until his 28th minute strike he had still been a slightly lost soul, the ball refusing to stick to his feet and his contribution negligible, other than a lot of running around. But once he got a free header from close in from Jiri's inch-perfect cross to dispatch our deserved equaliser, he visibly grew another couple of inches as his head lifted and his shoulders pushed back. From then on got much more involved and used the ball a lot better.

Substitutes:

Williams: 7.5: Replaced Molumby as we returned to a 4-5-1 and put in a good shift, mainly off the ball, to ensure West Brom were kept at bay. One particular flick to break up their attack and ensure possession for us was sublime. Was guilty of a very weak clearance late on when under no pressure which could have been costly. But, as on Saturday, he carried out his orders to the letter.

Romeo: 8: Came on to play both right and left back at various stages, and even spent a bit of time tracking Albion's playmaker Krovinovic through midfield and nullifying his threat. There was a time when having both Romeo and McCarthy playing full back at the same time that Millwall looked very good indeed.

Thompson: 7.5: On for only 14 minutes including injury time, long enough to get booked though. On too short a time to make an impression but did his job of seeing the game out.

Tactics: So Millwall came full circle. Started Saturday with 4-5-1 and end Tuesday playing 4-5-1. But it was what they did when they switched to 4-4-2 that West Brom would rather not think about and showed that not only are Millwall good at defending, but when they let their forwards loose, they are quite capable of doing damage to the opposition, also.

Because Millwall started with a straight 4-4-2 there was much more room for West Brom to work in and it looked unlikely that Millwall would keep a clean sheet. On the other hand, there was the amazing sight of Murray Wallace on the ball and with a choice of FOUR attackers to aim at...AWAY....!!!

What was clear was the NH was experimenting in this game with his full backs and his attacking options. Oh, and midfield. He must have been delighted with what he saw from both Molumby and McCarthy who proved last night that they are both serious options for first team starts in the Championship.

He would have been no less pleased with the way his side managed to switch formations and positions seamlessly and without the players losing their focus or ability to stick to the game plan. Which was, after an hour of all this attacking, to tighten it and make WBA work hard to find space again.

West Brom, on their part (and who had made nine changes from Saturday to our eight) played the ball much more quickly this time than on Saturday, where the change in gears happened only as they neared our box. Tonight they looked to play more one and two touch to open us up a bit more easily. At first it looked as though it might work and it needed the odd last ditch tackle to keep them out. But the home threat lessened as soon as the front two played a little closer to midfield to not get isolated and Millwall became a more compact unit once more, but one always buzzing with options the moment they won possession.

Neil Harris: 9: Got everything just about spot on. His philosophy appears to have altered a little (by which I mean dramatically!) from last season to ensure that Millwall always look as though they have a goal in them. And that there are always options on the pitch to make things happen. Bravo NH...!
Great writeup, WhiskyLion!
Tell us, what is his philosophy? This I want to know!
 
#27
Excellent report Whisky and it appears now we have a squad that can adapt to various formations.
At the back end of last season I made on here the observation that for most of the campaign we looked like a third tier team trying not to lose against Championship opposition; and that we had to change things so we looked and played like a second tier side.

On the evidence of the two games at The Hawthorns, every player within our squad looks capable of playing a part of a genuine Championship outfit.

Just how weak we were in certain positions last term, especially with our back-up full backs and strikers became very stark over 180 minutes in West Bromwich.

As one of their former directors said to me last night: "Thank God we don't have to play you every week!"

Made you proud to be 'Wall...!!!
 
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#28
At the back end of last season I made the observation that for most of the campaign we looked like a third tier team trying not to lose against Championship opposition; and that we had to change things so we looked and played like a second tier side.

On the evidence of the two games at The Hawthorns, every player within our squad looks capable of playing a part of a genuine Championship outfit.

Just how weak we were in certain positions last term, especially with our back-up full backs and strikers became very stark over 180 minutes in West Bromwich.

As one of their former directors said to me last night: "Thank God we don't have to play you every week!"

Made you proud to be 'Wall...!!!
There you go Whisky, a recommendation from Albion says it all.
 
#32
Thanks for the excellent report Whisky. In a nice way Harris certainly has a few team selection problems. I think Williams is going to find it hard to justify a place in the starting 11 in future. If Skalak starts on the wing there is the option of playing Jed, Thompson, Molumby, or Leonard in central midfield.
I can see Williams being used for away matches when his job is to be part of a well-drilled middle five. Off the ball he was very effective in both games at The Hawthorns.

On the ball is a different matter and I wouln't be surprised if he made way in home matches when we have to have show more attackig intent. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he started on the bench for the majority of home games; but started the majority of away matches....
 
#34
I can see Williams being used for away matches when his job is to be part of a well-drilled middle five. Off the ball he was very effective in both games at The Hawthorns.

On the ball is a different matter and I wouln't be surprised if he made way in home matches when we have to have show more attackig intent. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he started on the bench for the majority of home games; but started the majority of away matches....
Totally agree with you whisky plan A for homeplan B away with Williams playing a similar role to Jimmy boy
 

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