Last weekend saw the Baggies pick up their first league win of the season by beating Hull City 5-2, although they were then knocked out of the Carabao Cup in midweek by Derby County.
With Albion undoubtedly looking to put that disappointment behind them and pick up a second league win of the campaign against the Terriers, one player who started against the Rams but we think should be benched this afternoon is Matt Phillips.
In his 66 minutes on the pitch before being replaced by Grady Diangana at Pride Park, the 31-year-old had 47 touches of the ball and gave away possession 17 times in total, also misplacing six of the seven crosses that he attempted and failing to complete any of his three dribbles.
Birmingham Live picked up on his poor showing in possession as they said that his “final ball was lacking” in their post-match player ratings.
The winger wasn’t much better off the ball either as he lost 12 of his 14 duels, committed one foul, got dribbled past on one occasion and failed to make even one tackle or interception for his team. With all that in mind, it’s easy to see why Bruce chose to take him off in the second half.
This display ultimately earned Phillips a disappointing overall match rating of 6.1/10 from SofaScore, making him the lowest-rated Baggies player on the night – even lower than Adam Reach, who lost possession (22 times) more than anyone else who featured at Pride Park during the week.
Despite previously being praised by ex-West Brom manager Sam Allardyce for his “storming” return to action after testing positive for a virus, it’s safe to say that the 31-year-old’s performance against the Rams was not enough to convince Bruce to give him a place in today’s starting XI.
If he’s not good enough to help his team secure a win against League One opposition in Derby, would he be good enough to have an impact in this Championship clash?
With all that in mind, we feel that the Baggies would have a better chance of securing their second league win of the season by keeping Phillips on the bench for this afternoon’s showdown in Yorkshire.