Semi Ajayi was vital for West Brom in their 1-0 loss to Manchester United this weekend as his actions kept his side in the game.
The Baggies lost in controversial circumstances after Bruno Fernandes was allowed to retake a penalty that he had originally missed as his second attempt gave his side a 1-0 win.
Albion were denied a penalty of their own when referee David Coote changed his mind after initially giving a spot-kick for a foul on Conor Gallagher.
The Baggies fell to another defeat but Albion played well and Ajayi stood out as a key player with his actions keeping his side in the game.
This is proved by some of the stats that Ajayi registered at Old Trafford.
According to Wyscout, Ajayi made nine interceptions on Saturday evening as he expertly cut out United’s attempted passes forward and nullified their attack. The defender has been averaging 5.32 interceptions per game this season which shows how impressive this stat is.
The Nigerian also made 12 recoveries as he kept possession for his side when they looked to break forward against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
The heatmap below shows that Ajayi didn’t sit back and actually advanced up the pitch at times to meet the United attack in the midfield.
This resulted in the 27-year-old completing 71% of his defensive duels as he proved to be a thorn the Red Devils’ side all evening.
Across his 96 minutes on the pitch, Ajayi also registered an 82% pass completion rate as he didn’t give the ball away by pumping the ball long. He kept the ball on the pitch and found his teammates without giving United possession.
Overall, 64% of Ajayi’s total actions were successful against Man United which is a decent return considering he was playing in a defence at Old Trafford. There is no doubt that he was key to Albion’s defensive effort on Saturday.
A repeat of Ajayi’s impressive performance could help Albion to a first league win of the season when they face Sheffield United on Saturday where the defender should face an easier task than the one he encountered at Old Trafford.