West Brom moved to the top of the Championship after a 4-0 thrashing of Sheffield United at The Hawthorns this evening.
Valerien Ismael has enjoyed a very positive start to life in charge of Albion and his team produced a fine display to blow the Blades away.
The Baggies began brightly and they saw an early goal ruled out after Callum Robinson struck from close range following Darnell Furlong’s long throw, which was a sign of things to come.
The hosts continued to press, with the back three defending aggressively and pushing up at every opportunity.
Despite dominating the territory, Albion struggled to create chances from open play in the first-half, but they had a constant threat from set-plays, particularly with Furlong’s throw. Robinson would have another correctly chalked off after the Blades failed to clear a second ball at the midway point in the half.
Going the other way, Jokanovic’s side were pretty toothless, even if Dara O’Shea needed to be alert to deny Billy Sharp.
Albion would make the breakthrough in the 26th minute, thanks to another aerial bombardment of the Blades box.
As was the case on Saturday, it would be an opposition player who gave the Baggies the lead from Furlong’s throw, with Jack Robinson’s misplaced header going beyond Michael Verrips, who had replaced the Arsenal-bound Aaron Ramsdale in goal for the Yorkshire side.
The Blades had done nothing of note in an attacking sense by this point, yet they should’ve equalised immediately. A mix-up in the Albion defence saw David McGoldrick set through and he somehow shot wide when one-on-one with Sam Johnstone.
That didn’t spark the side into life, with the remainder of the half following the same pattern, as the Blades kept possession with minimal threat, whilst Albion looked dangerous from set-pieces, with Kyle Bartley nodding wide from a corner before the break.
You would’ve imagined that Jokanovic would’ve torn into his players at half-time, demanding more energy and intensity. However, just ten minutes into the second half, the game was effectively over.
Once again, the visitors would be unable to deal with a set-play, as Verrips fumbled a corner before Dara O’Shea poked home in 48th minute.
Alex Mowatt would get the third just five minutes later, with a goal that demonstrated the difference between the two sides in terms of hunger and aggression.
Having shown more desire to win possession in midfield, the ball was played to Karlan Grant who picked out the ex-Barnsley man who had continued his run into the box before finishing well with his right foot.
Albion would make it four before the hour mark and it was more embarrassing defending from Sheffield United. Once again, it was a long throw, with Verrips getting nowhere near the initial ball before Robinson tapped in from close range against his former club.
The introduction of Oliver Burke and Oli McBurnie, who came on before the fourth, would at least give the Blades more threat going forward but it was the Baggies who should’ve got the fifth when the excellent Furlong shot over from close range.
John Egan had an effort comfortably saved by Johnstone, prompting sarcastic cheers from the away end, which summed up how things had gone for Jokanovic’s men.
There will be plenty of concern for the Blades, who are surely facing up for a busy end to the window as Jokanovic looks to strengthen his squad.
But, this was West Brom’s night, with the four-goal winning margin ensuring they lead the way in the second tier and even though it’s early days, there won’t be many backing against Ismael’s side occupying occupying top spot in May.
Full-time: West Brom 4-0 Sheffield United