Stoke 3-1 West Brom: Maxim Choupo-Moting stars in vital Stoke victory
By Oliver Young-Myles
Last Updated: 23/12/17 5:49pm
Goals from Joe Allen, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Ramadan Sobhi handed Stoke a much-needed 3-1 win over West Brom at the Bet365 Stadium to relieve the pressure on Mark Hughes.
Allen put the hosts in front after 20 minutes when he prodded the ball home from Peter Crouch's volleyed cross before Choupo-Moting doubled the lead in first-half injury time after rounding Ben Foster.
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West Brom pulled one back shortly after the break through Salomon Rondon's third goal of the season but were undone on the counter-attack late on as Sobhi struck Stoke's third with virtually the last kick of the game.
Stoke were just one place above the relegation zone before kick-off but that win along with results elsewhere mean they are up to 14th while West Brom remain in 19th and without a Premier League win since August.
Stoke: Butland (7), Zouma (7), Shawcross (6), Wimmer (5), Edwards (6), Allen (7), Fletcher (6), Cameron (6), Shaqiri (6), Choupo-Moting (8), Crouch (6)
Subs: Diouf (6), Sobhi (7)
West Brom: Foster (6), Nyom (5), Evans (6), Hegazi (6), Gibbs (6), McClean (5), Livermore (6), Barry (7), Brunt (7), Robson-Kanu (6), Rondon (7)
Subs: Chadli (6), Rodriguez (7), Burke (6)
Man of the match: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
Hughes made an early tactical switch by changing from a 3-5-2 formation to 4-2-3-1 and it paid off almost immediately as Allen, re-deployed in an advanced midfield role behind Crouch, made a run into the box and finished inside the six-yard-box following the striker's low cross.
Rondon carried West Brom's biggest goal threat throughout and he drew a wonderful sprawling stop from Jack Butland late on in the first half as his controlled half-volley was expertly tipped around the post by the England international when it had appeared destined to nestle in the bottom corner.
Allen turned from goalscorer to goal provider for Stoke's second as his through ball sent Choupo-Moting through on goal. The Cameroonian calmly dribbled the ball around Foster before squeezing a shot between covering defenders Allan Nyom and Ahmed Hegazi on the goal line.
That goal came at the worst possible time for West Brom but they responded perfectly by scoring just six minutes after the break as Rondon raced onto Chris Brunt's brilliant ball over the top and slid his finish under the onrushing Butland.
Mark Hughes made three changes with Tom Edwards, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Kurt Zouma replaced Erik Pieters, Mame Biram Diouf and Ramadan Sobhi.Alan Pardew also made three changes as Gareth Barry, Chris Brunt and Hal Robson-Kanu came in for Claudio Yacob, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Oliver Burke.
West Brom dominated for much of the second half and were agonisingly close to equalising in injury time when Oliver Burke's low cross was diverted onto his own post by Stoke's youngster Tom Edwards, before Butland punched the ball into the back of Rondon's head from the resulting corner with the loose ball ricocheting away from danger rather than into the back of the net.
After pressing for the equaliser, West Brom found themselves stretched and were picked off on the counter-attack by Stoke as Choupo-Moting raced towards goal before unselfishly squaring the ball to Sobhi to pass into the empty net with Foster out of position.
Man of the match - Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
A thorn in West Brom's side from the first minute until the last, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was involved in all three of his side's goals in what was a hugely important victory for his team.
For the first, his shot deflected into Crouch's path who turned the ball into Allen to score. He scored the second himself by calmly rounding Foster and finishing under pressure and he then registered an assist for Sobhi for the third.
It wasn't the perfect performance - he comically back-heeled the ball to no-one midway through the second half - but virtually everything else he tried came off.
- West Brom are the first Premier League team to go 17+ games without a win since Aston Villa (19) in January 2016.
- Indeed, this is the Baggies' longest ever winless run in league competition (D8 L9).
- Stoke City bagged three goals in a Premier League game for the first time since beating Hull 3-1 in April.
- Joe Allen scored his first Premier League goal in 30 appearances, last netting against Crystal Palace in February.
- Allen scored and assisted in the same Premier League game for the first time in his career.
- Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting also both scored and assisted in the same Premier League game for the first time.
- Salomon Rondón has scored in all three of his Premier League away games against Stoke City.
- Chris Brunt provided his 45th assist in the Premier League for West Brom, 21 more than any other Baggies player in the competition.
Stoke will be looking to build up some momentum over the festive period when they face Huddersfield away on Boxing Day before returning home on the 30th to play Chelsea.
West Brom, who are now without a win in five games under Alan Pardew, are at home in their next two games against Everton on Boxing Day and Arsenal on New Year's Eve, live on Sky Sports Premier League.