West Bromwich Albion moved four points clear at the Championship’s summit on Sunday afternoon, putting in a fearless display as they looked like the Baggies of old for the first time in months.
Slaven Bilic’s side defeated Millwall 2-0 amidst the testing conditions of Storm Ciara that had struck the majority of Great Britain.
It’s now back-to-back victories for the west Midlands outfit following a run of seven straight league matches without a win.
They opened the scoring just before half-time as Filip Krovinovic curled an effort from outside of the penalty area before academy defender Dara O’Shea sealed all three points by heading home debutant Kamil Grosicki’s corner late on.
The Croatian playmaker won the Man of the Match award for his instrumental performance in the number ten role, but it was the return of enigmatic attacking midfielder Matheus Pereira that caught the eye on his first start back since suspension.
Pereira not only displayed his versatile attributes but also managed to put on a clinic in how to be a dangerous menace to the opposition.
As per SofaScore, the Brazilian prodigy recorded a game-high five key passes, created one big chance through his assist for the opener, managed two successful dribbles and was rather unlikely not to get his name on the scoresheet after hitting the woodwork amongst three other attempts at goal.
His pass to Krovinovic was his 15th assist of the season, putting him in a new dimension at the top of the Championship assist charts.
The 23-year-old has primarily played in the hole for the Baggies this season, but the Croatian’s performances in his three-game absence made him undroppable, so on his comeback, he was shifted out wide, and it clearly didn’t faze him one bit.
There can’t be many players in the second tier of English football that can be such a lethal threat in an array of positions – Jarrod Bowen was one until he moved to West Ham for £22m last month after 17 goals and six assists for Hull City this season.
Albion are getting Pereira permanently in the next few matches for just £8.25m, by comparison, that’s an absolute steal.
And in other news, West Brom fans were wrong to criticise key Bilic decision vs Millwall…