West Bromwich Albion succumbed to a first home defeat since February as Steve Bruce’s side lost 3-1 to Stoke City in the Championship this afternoon.
A Jake Livermore own goal in the first half got the Potters underway before Jacob Brown doubled the visitors’ lead in the second half.
There were hopes of a comeback when Callum Robinson halved the deficit with 17 minutes to go but those were ultimately extinguished when Lewis Baker scored the clincher for Michael O’Neil’s men deep into added time.
It was a lacklustre display from the Baggies, who will probably be desperate to see the back end of the campaign given their 11th-placed position, with any chance of sneaking into the play-offs all but over.
Having spent last term in the Premier League, Albion’s first season back in the Championship has certainly been a disappointment, particularly with results like today’s.
What has also been a disappointment is the West Brom tenure of winger Grady Diangana so far.
The 23-year-old West Ham youth product was sold by West Ham at the start of last season after the winger impressed on loan at The Hawthorns in the 2019/20 campaign.
The transfer gained plenty of attention, not for the fee or context of the move but for the public outburst from West Ham captain Mark Noble, who tweeted: “As captain of this football club I’m gutted, angry and sad that Grady has left, great kid with a great future!!!!!”
As captain of this football club I’m gutted, angry and sad that Grady has left, great kid with a great future!!!!! https://t.co/oNPPEp8Pt6
— MARK NOBLE (@Noble16Mark) September 4, 2020
However, the signs of a great future have still yet to be shown at West Brom by Diangana, who endured a tricky afternoon against the Potters today and let his manager down.
According to SofaScore, the 23-year-old had fewer touches of the ball (30) in his 58 minutes on the pitch than goalkeeper Sam Johnstone (42). Moreover, the winger lost the ball on 12 occasions, an average of every 2.5 touches, had no shots and attempted just two dribbles, completing neither.
There was little defensive contribution either, with the 23-year-old failing to make a single clearance, block or interception and winning just one tackle. Furthermore, Diangana lost six of his eight duels (75%).
On a more positive note, the winger’s passing was mostly accurate, with an 88% success rate, whilst he also completed two long balls. However, it was largely an afternoon to forget for the Englishman.
That’s a phrase which has been thrown around frequently about the winger since making his move to West Brom permanent, with Diangana scoring just three goals since leaving east London for good.
Two of those have come this season, along with just one assist, in 37 Championship appearances, so there needs to be more end product from the player.
The season appears to be all but over for Albion, with 2022/23 being Bruce’s first full campaign in charge of the Baggies.
Whether or not that will end positively will become clear over time, but what is certain is that Diangana will need to show signs of improving his contributions for West Brom, as otherwise he may well be on the move again.