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Nottingham Forest 1 West Brom 2 – Player ratings

By Joe Edwards | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Joe Edwards rates the players as Albion start the Slaven Bilic era with a 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest.

Kyle Edwards and Matt Phillips got the Baggies goals (AMA)

Sam Johnstone

Johnstone, make no mistake, should not have been beaten at his near post by Cash. It was a good strike but wasn't right in the corner. In fairness to the keeper, he did not really do anything wrong after that. Was not forced into any major saves either. 6

Nathan Ferguson

Man of the match. If you were watching Albion for the first time, you would have never guessed the right-back was an 18-year-old debutant. Accomplished wingers Lolley and Adomah just could not get past him. Ferguson broke forward when needed too, not taking too many risks. Excellent. 9

Semi Ajayi

Brought in from Rotherham, Ajayi is a man mountain - and a much-welcome addition to the Baggies backline if he carries on in this vein. For his size, Ajayi is notably adept with the ball at his feet and, less surprisingly, excels in the air. The club paid £1.5m for him, and that could well prove to be a bargain. 8

Kyle Bartley

The centre-half was targeted by Forest early on - Grabban, Lolley and Adomah all closing him down with intent - and looked a bit shaky. Grew in confidence as the game progressed though - winning headers, making blocks and clearing his lines. 7

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Kieran Gibbs

You always know what you are getting from the former Arsenal and England left-back - steady on the back foot, and efficient on the front foot. Could have ended up with an assist had Muric not denied Edwards a second. Limped off, but it did not look too serious. 7

Jake Livermore

With a full pre-season under his belt, Livermore looked a bit more mobile than he has done in the past for the Baggies. Kept things ticking over nicely in midfield while Sawyers made the long-range passes and Krovinovic operated further forward. 7

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Romaine Sawyers

He left the club as a boy and returned as a man, and he has also come back a much different player. Sawyers is more of a deep-lying midfielder these days and was often the one picking the ball up from the centre-halves. Passed it around well. A calming presence. 7

Filip Krovinovic

Similarly stylish when in possession is the Croatian, who regularly found space between the lines - probably more so in the first half. Maybe would have got an assist too had he not hesitated to put Edwards through when on the counter-attack shortly after the break. 7

Matt Phillips

Was it a cross, or was it a shot? Well, if Phillips tells you he meant it, he is lying to you. A goal is a goal, though, and his ended up being the winner. Otherwise, he offered good support to Ferguson defensively, covering plenty of ground on the right flank. 7

Kenneth Zohore

He did not have much to feed off, but the Danish centre forward still made his presence felt with his strength and willingness to chase defenders down. You sense he may be most effective with another striker - more of a poacher - playing just off him. 7

Kyle Edwards

Did not shine quite as brightly as Ferguson, but he was not far off. Got himself on the scoresheet after dazzling Forest's defenders with his fancy footwork. So refreshing to see an academy product come into the senior set-up and perform with such fearlessness. 8

Substitutes

Oliver Burke (for Zohore, 63) 6

Conor Townsend (for Gibbs, 71) 6

Rekeem Harper (for Edwards, 84) 6

Not used: Bond (gk), Furlong, Leko, O'Shea

Joe Edwards

By Joe Edwards
Multi-Media Sports Journalist - @JoeEdwards_Star

Sports reporter for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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