Semi Ajayi was outstanding for West Brom against Chelsea on Saturday and his performance gives Sam Allardyce a big decision to make.
The defender earned his first start since getting sent off at Burnley and did not have things his own way.
Returning to the team at Stamford Bridge was always going to be difficult and Ajayi could have been unnerved when Dara O’Shea was forced off with injury early on.
Even worse, his replacement Branislav Ivanovic suffered the same fate minutes later and led Big Sam to switch to a back four.
Ajayi remained composed and dealt with those big changes with ease alongside Kyle Bartley – reducing Chelsea to just one goal in the first half, which came from a set-piece.
The second half was even better from the centre-back, as he kept a close eye on Timo Werner while putting Albion on the front foot.
One forward pass found Mbaye Diagne in a great positon, and the striker teed up Matheus Pereira who could only fire straight at the goalkeeper.
That side of his game was faultless as Ajayi completed 100% pass accuracy, per SofaScore, and made three long balls.
The defender was also resolute at the back against multi-million-pound players like Christian Pulisic.
For example, Ajayi was never dribbled past and instead the 27-year-old managed three tackles and three interceptions [SofaScore].
He made a great impression against top-quality opposition and put himself in the frame to start regularly as a result.
The seriousness of O’Shea’s injury is not yet known but even if fit he could struggle to get into the starting eleven, despite impressing since replacing Ajayi.
West Brom now have three strong options at centre-back – Big Sam deserves a lot of credit for that.
The Albion boss started with a 5-2-3 formation on Saturday so could use that to fit in all of his defensive options.
However, he scrapped that after Chelsea’s red card and Conor Gallagher will be available against Aston Villa – he will likely return to the side as Allardyce is a big fan [The Mirror].
Big decisions will need to be made, therefore, but we are glad that Big Sam has headaches for the right reasons at last.
In other West Brom news, Gary Lineker pays huge compliment to Albion and Allardyce after Chelsea win.