West Brom’s impressive draw at Manchester City was marred by speculation that a decision had already been made over the future of Slaven Bilic, which was confirmed by the club Wednesday lunchtime.
The Baggies came from behind to snatch a point at the Etihad Stadium, thanks to central defender Semi Ajayi, whose header cannoned in off Ruben Dias to cancel out an early strike from Ilkay Gundogan.
After the match, the ever-reliable John Percy at the Telegraph revealed that the Croatian is facing the sack in the next 24 hours, whilst The Times’ Matt Lawton quickly named Sam Allardyce, Nigel Pearson, Mark Hughes and Eddie Howe as contenders for the job.
Well, if any of the four managers were watching last night’s game, then they’d probably be buoyed by the fact that the draw moved Albion to within two points of safety.
However, they will also be discouraged by the performance of some players, and in particular, Matty Phillips.
Bilic kept the faith in the Scotsman after a decent showing at left wing-back last time out, only this time, he was deployed in his natural right-wing position but flopped immensely.
The 29-year-old was graded as the Baggies’ worst player by SofaScore, pulling in a rating of just 6.2.
In 87 minutes of action, Phillips also won just one of nine duels (11%), lost possession ten times from only 35 touches, failed to deliver a single successful dribble from two attempts, and made only 12 passes all game – even Sam Johnstone between the sticks managed more.
This was his third start of the season, all of which coming in their last three outings, so clearly he’s done enough in training to impress Bilic and warrant a spot in the starting XI.
Though, with performances like that, the wing liability should be running scared should the 52-year-old face the chop as it’s unlikely a new man is going to play him having witnessed that shocker on Tuesday evening.
AND in other news, Forget Johnson, Baggies beast who won 10 duels stole the show for Bilic…