With Valerien Ismael fielding a strong West Bromwich Albion side in Saturday afternoon’s FA Cup clash against Brighton, it is clear that the 46-year-old was hoping to secure something of an upset against Graham Potters’ Seagulls.
However, despite taking the lead through Callum Robinson’s strike shortly after half-time, all hope of securing a Premier League scalp at The Hawthorns vanished in a matter of minutes – two, to be exact – as Albion’s stand-in centre-back Cedric Kipre received two bookings in the space of just 120 seconds.
Indeed, Jakub Moder pulled the visitors level with just nine minutes of normal time remaining – ensuring that the fixture would go to extra time – before Neal Maupay completed the turnaround on 98 minutes. Ismael’s hope of a top-flight scalp was an opportunity very much missed, with the match finishing 2-1 to Brighton.
While it was undoubtedly the 25-year-old’s dismissal which turned the tide in the game, the £900k-rated defender’s overall performance today demonstrated exactly why Ismael is reportedly open to parting with the former Ivory Coast under-23 international this month.
Indeed, over his 69 minutes on the pitch, the £14k-per-week defender had just 34 touches of the ball – 16 fewer than David Button between the West Brom sticks – completed just 18 of his 25 passes (a success rate of just 72%) and lost possession of the ball nine times.
These returns saw the defender receive a hugely disappointing SofaScore match rating of just 6.0, the lowest of any Albion player to feature this afternoon. The Athletic’s Steve Madeley also dubbed Kipre “daft” for giving “the ref a decision to make” regarding his second yellow card.
As such, while West Brom are currently short of options at centre-back – with Semi Ajayi away at the African Cup of Nations and Dara O’Shea not yet back from injury – Ismael must nevertheless do all he can to axe the 25-year-old before the month is up. His display against Brighton is only the latest time Kipre has cost Albion dearly, and we believe that the defender must surely have played his final game for the club.