With Valerien Ismael’s West Bromwich Albion side heading into Friday night’s Championship fixture boasting an unbeaten record in the league, coming off the back of a momentum-building 4-0 win at Cardiff in midweek, the Frenchman would have undoubtedly been expecting more of the same in the Baggies’ trip to Stoke City.
However, a 79th minute Nick Powell goal, coupled with a particularly abject performance by Albion, saw the club’s undefeated league run come to an abrupt end at the bet365 Stadium, with Michael O’Neill’s impressive Stoke side taking all three points in a 1-0 win.
As is perhaps to be expected in a game during which West Brom managed to hit the target with just two shots, a number of Ismael’s attacking options failed to impress, with Karlan Grant, Callum Robinson, Matt Phillips and Grady Diangana all earning a SofaScore match rating of 6.5 or lower.
However, it will perhaps be Jordan Hugill who is most disappointed with his personal display against Stoke.
Despite having failed to find the net over his first six Championship appearances since joining West Brom from Norwich City on a season-long loan deal back in August, Ismael opted to once again start the 29-year-old at centre-forward against the Potters.
However, over the course of his 55 minutes on the pitch, the £1.8m-rated man turned in a truly woeful performance, managing no shots at the Stoke goal – either on or off target – making no key passes and ceding possession of the ball on 12 separate occasions.
The player who Daniel Farke dubbed a “leader” also completed just two of his nine attempted passes, lost 11 of his 14 duels – a failure rate of 79% – made no tackles or interceptions and committed three fouls against the Potters.
These returns saw the £36k-per-week forward receive a rather disappointing SofaScore match rating of 6.3, with only Conor Townsend earning a lower score of the West Brom players to have started the match.
As such, while it is true that both Grant and Robinson – the two players to start either side of Hugill – also failed to impress in the 1-0 loss, it was probably the Norwich loanee’s performance which let Ismael down the most, as the 29-year-old offered little to nothing during his 55 minutes on the pitch.