BTA at the double as Rovers return with nothing

West Bromwich Albion 4 Blackburn Rovers 1

Carlos Corberán’s team brushed a poor Blackburn Rovers team aside on Saturday afternoon with a comfortable 4-1 victory that could easily have been many more. It may not have been as convincing as the 8-0 home win predicted by a visiting supporter I met walking to the Hawthorns, but it was as good an attacking performance as we have seen at the Shrine this season. When you consider that this was done without Matt Phillips, Grady Diangana and Josh Maja, and with only brief appearances from Jed Wallace and Daryl Dike, it makes the display all the more impressive.

It must be said that there was a 15 minute period after half time when Albion were a little sloppy and let the visitors back into the game, but they otherwise dominated the game despite yielding more possession to Jon Dahl Tomasson’s team. Blackburn played some nice football, pressed well and scored a lovely goal through Jake Garrett, but their attacking approach left them wide open at the back at times, and the Baggies were able to take full advantage.

There were excellent performances all over the pitch, but none more so than Brandon Thomas-Asante. Not only did he score two fine goals, both finishes were very good, but his overall display was superb. He was able to hold up the ball well and linked intelligently with his team mates and his workrate in pressing the Rovers defence was second to none.

With a third successive start, and third successive 90 minutes, Tom Fellows is getting better and better. After getting his head on the bouncing ball from Furlong’s long throw to score his first Championship goal, he continued to impress with his direct wing play and had three further attempts at goal, one of which produced a decent save from Wahlstedt.

Another player I feel deserves a mention is Darnell Furlong. I think that his overall level of performance this season has been as good as it has ever been in an Albion shirt. Whether the arrival of Pipa as some serious competition has spurred him on, or his improvement is down to hard work from him and the coaching staff, he has really stepped up both defensively and offensively. Against Rovers, he was constantly popping up in the inside right position as Fellows tended to hug the touchline, and his delivery into the box was on the money more often than not. It was his fine through ball that almost produced a goal for Dike that would have been the put the icing on a fine afternoon for Albion.

As well as being able to offer useful minutes for Dike and Wallace, it was good to see both John Swift and Adam Reach play for an hour as they continue their recovery from injury. With Albion only playing once a week until mid-February, barring a replay in the next round of the cup, it should mean that the squad have plenty of time to recover between games and will hopefully welcome a couple of new faces before the month is out, with experienced front man Andi Weimann set to be the first through the door in the coming days.

The disappointment of Swansea seems a distant memory after an impressive pair of 4-1 wins, and Albion look in good shape as they prepare for a tricky trip to Norfolk next weekend.

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