Conor Gallagher was excellent on Saturday and played a key role in West Brom earning three points against Brighton.
It was a tough game for Albion and arguably the worst performance of our three-match unbeaten run.
However, Sam Allardyce will be delighted after describing the fixture as a “must-win” ahead of kick-off.
We needed a fair bit of luck but some brilliant defending and the contribution of Gallagher was enough to seal the win.
It did not take long for the midfielder to display his quality.
Gallagher is rarely on corner duties but Robert Snodgrass’ absence allowed him to curl in a devastating delivery that Kyle Bartley nodded home.
That of course proved the winner but Gallagher was excellent alongside Okay Yokuslu in the middle.
Given Brighton’s 70% possession that return is not too bad.
The Chelsea loanee also completed one cross and produced one key pass, so looked to get us on the front foot despite being under pressure for large spells.
More importantly, though, he made an astounding six tackles, per WhoScored – the most of any player on the pitch.
His performances have certainly picked up since the new loanees came into the squad.
Gallagher is proving an important player and it is disappointing he will not be with us next season.
Before arriving at The Hawthorns he put pen to paper on a five-year deal with Chelsea, his parent club, so he could be competing in Europe next term.
In total the 21-year-old won 10 duels on Saturday, and kept a close watch on the likes of Adam Lallana and Pascal Gross.
The visitors had opportunities to win the game but had only one clear cut chance from open play – Aaron Connolly’s close-range miss – and that was mainly thanks to Gallagher.
He will be key next week against Newcastle too, and if he stays on set-pieces we may see a repeat of Saturday’s result.
In other West Brom news, View: 70% defensive duels lost: £35k/wk star nightmare display nearly cost West Brom v Brighton.