By Nick Ware

21st Oct, 2021 | 12:10pm

Journalist shares how West Brom defender Semi Ajayi left Valerien Ismael frustrated v Swansea

Semi Ajayi left Valerien Ismael a frustrated figure in the West Brom dugout during Wednesday night’s 2-1 defeat at Swansea City.

The Nigeria international, 27, began the first five games of the season on the bench but he has now started the club’s last nine, including last night [20/10/21].

He appeared to annoy Ismael with one particular moment at the Stadium, however.

As The Athletic’s Steve Madeley shared via his personal Twitter profile, Ismael was unhappy with the Arsenal academy graduate’s sloppiness in possession.

“Ismael spins around in frustration as Ajayi misplaces a simple pass,” Madeley wrote.

“Not sure what’s happened to the guy who looked composed on the ball in the early days of the [Slaven] Bilic era.”

Product of the system?

Perhaps the style of play introduced by Ismael at Albion has contributed to Ajayi’s poor level of passing.

Indeed, the statistics are damning.

In the Premier League last season, Ajayi recorded a pass accuracy of 73.2%, while that figure jumps to 81.6% for the 2019/20 Championship campaign where Albion were promoted. [WhoScored]

However, that score has plummeted to 58.4% this season.

It surely cannot be a coincidence.

Yet, given Ismael’s annoyance at Ajayi’s ceding of possession, the ex-Barnsley boss clearly wants more composure on the ball from his central defender.

But he must put the building blocks in place in order for the Nigerian to feel comfortable and revert back to his former self in possession.

Otherwise, West Brom will continue to lose the ball at an alarming rate and invite pressure onto themselves.

In other West Brom news, Jamie Carragher has delivered his verdict on Albion this season.

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