West Brom will come away from Saturday’s defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford disappointed, but the performance of Matheus Pereira was a huge positive.
The Brazilian attacker has made a slow start to life in the Premier League, still adapting to the heightened pace and adjusting to his new role on the right.
In eight league appearances so far this season the 24-year-old has scored once and provided two assists (via WhoScored), but has not quite been the same dominant creative force that played a vital role in the Baggies’ promotion to the Premier League.
However, Pereira was excellent at Old Trafford and showed his boss Slaven Bilic that he remains West Brom’s best chance of staying in the division.
Getting on the ball 47 times over the 90 minutes, he was a constant danger to the United backline and targeted left-back Alex Telles. Completing six of his seven dribbles, the Brazilian progressed the ball for a total of 176 yards and completed 23 passes (via FBRef). No Baggies player completed as many dribbles as Pereira, while only Conor Gallagher with six had more shot creating actions that the Brazilian with four (via FBRef).
With one shot and two key passes (via WhoScored), he was involved in much of West Brom’s good work going forward and while he is not best-suited to the right wing, it is easy to see why Bilic opts for him in this system.
With Conor Gallagher, Filip Krovinovic, Jake Livermore and Romaine Sawyers all pushing for minutes in the centre of the pitch and the Baggies appearing more solid with a back five, it is hard to find a way to fit Pereira centrally in this side. However, he is still taking up lots of dangerous positions across the front line, with his heatmap showing just how much freedom Bilic has afforded him (via WhoScored).
At one of the most famous stadiums in the world, Pereira showed what kind of player he is. If he can kick on moving forward, West Brom have a far better chance of staying in the division.
In other West Brom news, Chris Wilder has responded to links between West Brom and a Sheffield Utd player.