• Albion 2 - 1 Huddersfield, 23.01.2016

    Well, hello, Anthony Knockaert. The Albion invested a tidy sum in the French winger, at the start of January - the former Leicester man becoming one of the club's most expensive signings of all time. His virtuoso performance, on this, his home debut, made the investment look a shrewd one - could he be the missing piece - the man to turn frustrating draws into crucial victories?



    Somebody commented after the recent Wolves game, that it was a match that the Albion "didn't deserve to lose, but ultimately had no idea how to win". Had Sky not moved the match forward to a day before the transfer window opened, this lad just might have changed that.

    He was a huge crowd favourite at the Walkers Stadium, and on this showing, will quickly achieve the same status on the South coast - tormenting the Terriers' back line with quick feet and direct running, providing two sumptuous assists, and could have capped it with a worldy of his own, but for a lack of greediness first half, and the width of the post in the second.

    I'm excited. The crowd as a whole are excited. Bobby Zamora, James Wilson, Tomer Hemed and Sam Baldock must be absolutely buzzing.

    Chris Hughton sent out the same starting eleven that had seen off Blackburn last week. He'd not had many difficult decisions to make, in truth, with so many regulars still sidelined. A straight choice between Hemed and Wilson as Zamora's partner, a call on whether Kazenga Lualua was fit enough to start, and perhaps consideration to recalling Inigo Calderon at left back, to offer more going forward in a winnable home game than the solid but limited Liam Ridgewell.

    Huddersfield's new boss David Wagner, is the best friend of, best man of, and former assistant to Jurgen Klopp, and the two men clearly share some ideas on football philosophy - the (very) high pressing game the Terriers employed, very familiar to keen watchers of Klopp's Dortmund side, in particular. No Albion player was afforded a moment on the ball, and consequently the away side had much the better of the first quarter of the game. Not that Wagner's side were here just to be destructive - in possession they moved the ball around smartly - and looked a side far better than their league position suggests.

    They came agonisingly close to opening the scoring - a downward header from a corner, from former Seagull Joel Lynch, headed off the line by Jamie Murphy - the off-colour Scot's most important contribution in weeks. Beram Kayal picked up a yellow, courtesy of Dale Stephens - the Israeli tugging back the lively Nahki Wells, as Huddersfield broke quickly from his midfield partner's poor free kick.

    Then, on the half-hour, the roles reversed - a set piece for the away side, resulting in a lightning break from the Albion - one they converted ruthlessly. Zamora's clearing header from the six yard line reached Kayal, who fed Knockaert, surging over the halfway line. The Frenchman carried it forward, cut inside onto his left, then clipped a perfect cross, into the path of, incredibly, Bobby Zamora. A week into his 36th year, the Albion number 25, had sprinted 95 yards in 14 seconds, to meet the cross, cushioning a side-footed volley across the keeper, into the far corner.

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