10 February 2020 10:45
In a clash that had a real chance of being called off with heavy rain and gale force winds battering the country, goals from Filip Krovinovic and Dara O'Shea saw the Baggies secure a convincing and deserved win in the Capital. But while it took until the 85th minute for O'Shea to pop up and settle any nerves, Bilic will be delighted with his team's performance that saw them extend their lead at the top of the Championship to four points. Bilic's team selection threw up a number of interesting talking points with the boss deciding to make two changes from the side that beat Luton. Unsurprisingly, key man Matheus Pereira came straight back into the starting XI having completed his three game ban for an alleged elbow against Stoke's Joe Allen. And that meant Pereira began on the right wing, with Callum Robinson on the left in BIlic's favoured 4-2-3-1 system.
Millwall boss Gary Rowett opted to pack the midfield with his team lining up in a 4-5-1 system that saw Matt Smith operate as the lone striker. The tone for the game appeared to have been set in the first few minutes when Albion won a corner. Bilic's side had started like a steam train and they should have been ahead just moments later when Robinson's ball sent Pereira through one-on-one. Despite the conditions, Albion were showing their quality with Robson-Kanu unable to meet a dangerous Robinson cross while Conor Townsend lashed a fierce strike from 20-yards just past the upright. Gradually, though, the host began to come into the game - with Kyle Bartley making two crucial interceptions inside the area to keep Smith at bay.
But with five minutes to go Albion finally, finally, put the game to bed. Wallace, Hutchinson, Cooper, Williams (Bradshaw 77), J Wallace, Smith (Bodvarsson 61) Romeo, Molumby, Woods, O'Brien (Mahoney 61). Albion: Johnstone, O'Shea, Bartley, Ajayi, Townsend, Livermore, Sawyers, Krovinovic, Pereira (Phillips 76), Robinson (Grosicki 66), Robson-Kanu (Austin 90). Here is how we rated Millwall's players in their defeat to Championship leaders West Brom: Not the best game for Wallace. Williams partnered Woods well for most of the game, but it wasn't his best game in terms of passing, misplacing quite a few balls in good positions higher up the pitch.
C) West Brom - 97pts 10) Millwall - 67pts 23) Luton Town - 40pts Millwall 0 West Bromwich Albion 2 West Bromwich Albion head coach Slaven Bilic described it as "Millwall weather", on this, the day both Clara and table topping Albion came to The Den. She brought the worst of all possible meteorological worlds: driving, pounding rain; the uncompromising chill of early February and, worst of all, winds not unleashed in South London, said some, since the great storm of '87. Clara left town after the first half, but by then Albion, unbeaten in the capital all season, were ahead and very much on top. Try as they might, Callum Robinson and Matheus Pereira couldn't get the ball to lay still. Gary Rowett admitted that Millwall deserved nothing from today's home game against West Bromwich Albion. "When you play against a side like West Brom, as we found when we played Leeds, sometimes it's just that extra bit of zip and composure about those type of teams which makes it so difficult," said Rowett. "We started the game like it was a nice summer's day in May, because we were trying to pass the ball short and gave them two or three opportunities by doing that. "We spoke about trying to start the game with more intensity and making it more difficult for them early on – make them defend in the first 15 or 20 minutes with our tempo – and we kind of did the opposite. "I picked a team I felt would suit the conditions rather than what I probably would've done for the game – maybe I made a mistake doing that. "They handled the conditions better than us, whether that's because they've got a little more technicality in their team and composure, I don't know. "We've worked incredibly hard for 17 or 18 games to stay with the levels of the Championship and maybe for the second half against Leeds and the 90 minutes against West Brom we have come up a little bit short.