West Bromwich Albion earned a vital point against Burnley on Saturday afternoon, holding the hosts to a 0-0 draw despite having Semi Ajayi sent off after half an hour.
The Baggies started brightly, but their afternoon took a turn for the worse when Ajayi prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity by sneakily palming the ball from danger with his hand, Mike Dean, who else, brandished a red card to the centre-back after a brief flirtation with his favourite VAR monitor.
The second half was a cagey affair with few chances, although Mbaye Diagne had the opportunity to give West Brom an unlikely lead, but his close range effort crashed against the crossbar.
Sam Allardyce’s men squandered another great chance soon after, when Matheus Pereira first miscued and then saw his second effort blocked brilliantly on the line by James Tarkowski, saving a crucial point for Burnley.
Let’s check out the player ratings from a drab afternoon of Premier League action.
Nick Pope (GK) – 7/10 – Produced a brilliant save to tip Pereira’s drive around the post. Not tested to such a degree from then on.
Matt Lowton (RB) – 8/10 – Defended resolutely and stuck his foot in to make a series of decent challenges. Played high up the pitch too, trying to affect the game at the other end.
James Tarkowski (CB) – 8/10 – Had his hands full with Diagne, but snaked out a boot to put in some vital interceptions. Massive goal-line clearance late on, keeping Burnley level.
Ben Mee (CB) – 7/10 – A strong display next to his usual partner. Sent a few long balls hurtling into space. Bit shaky in the second half.
Charlie Taylor (LB) – 6/10 – Suffered at the hands of Pereira in the early exchanges, and will have been mightily relieved by the game swinging in Burnley’s favour on the half-hour mark.
Josh Brownhill (RM) – 6/10 – Lots of energy and tidy play, but lacking any form of a killer pass or quality end product. Curled a decent free-kick at goal, but to no avail.
Jack Cork (CM) – 6/10 – Slowed down Burnley’s already snail-paced play when in possession, and wasn’t at the races all afternoon.
Ashley Westwood (CM) – 7/10 – The more assertive of the two central midfielders. Kept the game ticking over, moving the ball with a bit of urgency.
Dwight McNeil (LM) – 6/10 – The main driving force in the midfield, powering forward with the ball and constantly asking questions. Final pass wasn’t on point though.
Jay Rodriguez (ST) – 6/10 – Scrapped away against the West Brom defence, aiming to get one over his old employers. Wasn’t to be, on this occasion.
Matej Vydra (ST) – 6/10 – Provoked Ajayi into handling the ball with his pressure and harrying. Not quite sure how he is still a Premier League striker, in truth.
Joel Mumbongo (ST) – 6/10
Sam Johnstone (GK) – 7/10 – Not really tested in the first half, especially considering his side were a man light. Solid and commanding in the second.
Darnell Furlong (RB) – 7/10 – Curled an effort just wide from the edge of the box. Close. Reduced to much more defensive duties soon after, and stuck to his task well.
Kyle Bartley (CB) – 7/10 – Quite fortunate not to concede a penalty for a very risky handball in the second half. Other than that, he marshalled the defence well against all the odds.
Semi Ajayi (CB) – 4/10 – Absolutely criminal decision-making to bat the ball away from a striker with a hand, leaving Dean no option than to dish out a red card. Threw his teammates under the bus after only half an hour.
Conor Townsend (LB) – 7/10 – Delivered a no-nonsense performance, stopping Brownhill from getting any joy on that flank.
Conor Gallagher (CM) – 6/10 – Poor pass led to the eventual red card. All signs of his class on the ball are lost in this team. Not playing to his strengths.
Okay Yokuslu (CM) – 7/10 – Not afraid of a tackle, flying into a series of sliding challenges to fight for possession. Exactly what you need in a battling afternoon at Turf Moor.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (CM) – 6/10 – Shifted out to the left side of the midfield when West Brom were reduced to ten men. Took a couple of cracks at goal in the second half. Should have had an assist for a wasteful Pereira.
Matheus Pereira (RW) – 7/10 – Had a couple of ambitious cracks from distance which missed the top corner by a few yards. Came much closer from a central role, forcing Pope into a fine diving save. Should have won it with two bites at the cherry, but fluffed his first and saw the second stopped on the line.
Mbaye Diagne (ST) – 7/10 – Linked up well with his teammates, flicking the ball cleverly into Pereira’s path. Could have broken the deadlock when he burst into the box, but rattled the crossbar. Huge moment in West Brom’s season.
Matt Phillips (LW) – 6/10 – Didn’t make a bad start to the match, but was sacrificed by Allardyce as the coach changed shape after the red card.
Dara O’Shea (CB) – 7/10 – Looked okay for the best part of an hour, and has likely sealed a starting berth next time out.