It was a game West Brom just had to win but Matheus Pereira failed to deliver against Burnley in a result that looks to have set the seal on Albion’s doomed survival scrap.
Sam Allardyce’s side arrived at Turf Moor on Saturday knowing a win would move them 11 points behind Burnley but more importantly eight behind Newcastle United who occupy the final survival slot in the Premier League table.
Things looked bleak after Semi Ajayi’s early red card but Albion were by far the most threatening team and really should have had more to show for their efforts than a 0-0 draw.
It is tough to say as he has so often been our talisman this season but Matheus Pereira had a shocker by his high standards and especially considering the importance of this fixture.
This was a game where our Brazilian maestro had to be on the top of his game – but he was anything but as he repeatedly fluffed his lines and lost 57% of his duels.
Part of the problem with Pereira has been his inability to get on the ball and influence the play, mainly down to the fact that Albion are often without the ball as their league-low possession figures show.
So when he is in control he has to make it count and he certainly had his opportunities on Saturday.
According to stats by Wyscout Pereira fired off six shots in Lancashire – his previous highest tally this season was four (v Sheffield United on November 28).
That gave him an xG of 0.48 – by far his biggest tally of the season aside from the 3-2 Wolves win on January 16 that included two penalties.
He hit three off target but it was perhaps a shot that he didn’t manage to make that was his biggest failing.
In the second half, Albion countered on their hosts and Mbaye Diagne had the simple task of rolling the ball to an open Pereira to guide the ball into the back of an open Burnley net but he fluffed his lines and did not connect with it properly.
If we were being uber kind then we could find fault with Diagne’s delivery as the pass was quite strong but in truth, a player of Pereira’s ilk has to adjust his feet there.
He had the chance to rectify this mistake moments later as the ball found its way to him again but Nick Pope’s save from his powerful strike took the sting off the shot and a Burnley defender cleared off the line.
Perhaps we are being too critical here but even on this, we expect Pereira to do better and aim for the top corner rather than the crowd area.
These actions led to an overall xG of 1.04 for West Brom and dwarfed the 0.22 held by their opponents but there was no goal to show for their efforts so the lack of a clinical edge clearly cost us.
Pereira also completed just one dribble which is pretty poor and this led to an offensive duel accuracy of just 33%, while he also managed to find himself offside twice.
The 24-year-old’s passing also left a lot to be desired as a 63% completion rate made it his second worst performance of the season (as a starter) in this regard.
A failure to produce any sort of magic on the ball was evidence by a lowly xA figure of 0.07.
It’s not often we find fault with Pereira, particularly given the shocking displays from many of his teammates this season and he has so often been our main man.
But this was clearly a day where he failed to step up and make himself counted.
In other West Brom news, Martin Keown has one question for Big Sam after Burnley draw.