Bye then!

That's yer lot from me. It's been a lot of fun. High-tempo, scrappy, ludicrous fun. 'Night!

Looking back on those goals, that Goran Popov headed clearance, the one that set up Westwood's equaliser, was absolutely hideous. Inexplicable. The finger's pointing at him, too.

West Brom's players seem less keen to speak to the media, strangely…

Paul Lambert speaks!

"I thought second half we were fantastic. To be fair, in the first half we were down 2-0 in 10 minutes and you're just thinking, we need to hang in here to half time.
"We thought we had to get them on pretty quickly. We thought we need to get a goal here. They made a huge difference. They only started to train on Friday, and they came on and I thought they were outstanding.
"To come back in a derby game, in this atmosphere, and to do it the way they did it, I'm delighted for them. I think Westwood took the game by the scruff of the neck. He can hit them. It was no more than he was due. I thought he was terrific for us.
"Hopefully people are starting to see they're a really great side, with great energy, and if we can keep them together for a few years then we'll see."

Ron Vlaar speaks!

"I'm very happy with that. I think we showed some mentality today. The first half was not good at all. If you start a game the way we started, you know you're going to get in trouble. Second half we turned it around, and I'm very proud of that. It shows we're capable of a lot of things, and I think we have to believe in the things we can do and we'll be fine then."

On the substitutions: "You could see the impact. I think the first touch from Andy was almost a goal, and that gave us some energy. Last year, when we were a goal or two goals down, we lost the game. This year we keep on going, that's the most important thing, and then you can get results."

Final thoughts

Aston Villa are very lucky indeed to emerge from that game with anything but a backside horribly bruised from the extremely harsh kicking it had just received. Their early haplessness, though, forced them into an attacking substitution, while West Brom's early supremacy tempted them to try to protect what they had. Villa were poor, and had the Baggies kept pushing forward, perhaps even reinforcing their attack, a convincing victory was theirs for the taking. They didn't take it. My finger is pointing at Steve Clarke, a bit, but also at Sessegnon for his two horrible misses. That's right, it's pointing at two people at the same time. It can do that.

Final score: West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Aston Villa

90+4 mins: It's all over. One team had the best of 75 minutes, Villa were on top for 10, and there was a bit of time deducted for random scrappy spells.

90+3 mins: Stoppage time has been all about weak Amalfitano crosses. The last, following a comedy foul on Reid, is chipped and easily cleared.

90+2 mins: A long spell of West Brom possession ends with Guzan claiming Amalfitano's cross.

90+1 mins: We're into the first minute of stoppage time, and after this one there will be another two.

89 mins: Amalfitano, who like Brunt has had a good game, wastes another good crossing chance, and Shane Long wins the man of the match award, which he pretty much wrapped up in the first 11 minutes.

88 mins: West Brom are once again the better side, even if Brunt has saved up the worst cross of the game, scooping a left-footed effort way out of play.

86 mins: Clark hauls down Anichebe, and is rewarded with the game's second booking.

84 mins: Villa have no right to parity here. It's ludicrous to blame individuals for the outcome of team games, but this is all Stéphane Sessegnon's fault.

82 mins: Left-back Goran Popov is the man coming off, with Victor Anichebe joining Long in attack.

81 mins: I think the Baggies could really have brought on one of their many benched strikers when they took off Sessegnon, and given Long a bit of assistance. They're going to bring one of them on soon, though, with Anichebe readying himself for action.

80 mins: Precedent dept: last season Aston Villa scored early, were two goals up at half-time, and West Brom fought back to draw 2-2. Revenge?

GOAL! West Brom 2-2 Aston Villa (Westwood, 76 mins)

That's a fabulous strike. Credit here to Agbonlahor, who won a ball he had no right to win and then crossed from the right. It's not a good cross, and it falls to an unchallenged Popov, but instead of chesting the ball down and booting it upfield he heads it back into the middle of the pitch, and only just out of his penalty area, where Westwood latches on to the ball and sends it soaring into the corner of the net from 23 yards.

74 mins: Bacuna's first actually good cross of the day leads to … a West Brom shot. Morrison leads the break and plays the ball left to Long, who carries the ball towards the penalty area and then shoots low and a bit lazily from 19 yards, ignoring the arriving-at-pace Brunt.

73 mins: West Brom take off Sessegnon, who has had a bit of a stinker, and bring on Morrison. It's a pretty even, and pretty scrappy, match at the moment.

69 mins: Sky's cameras catch Lambert taking off his jacket with intent, and had Villa not already used up their three subs he might have been about to pop on a pair of boots and give himself a run-out. Anyway, they have, and he's not.

GOAL! West Brom 2-1 Aston Villa (El Ahmadi, 68 mins)

Bacuna crosses poorly from the right, Weimann does well to flick the ball off the back of his head into somewhere vaguely dangerous, and El Ahmadi volleys into the net. Game on!

66 mins: The ball is played long and high to Benteke, who controls it reasonably well on his chest, and then runs five yards to control it better on his chest the second time, and then he shoots extremely optimistically and the ball bobbles to the keeper.

Crazy miss!

64 mins: Amalfitano takes a throw-in on the left wing, gets the ball back and finds he's in 15 yards of space, so he sprints infield and to the touchline and pulls the ball back to Sessegnon, seven yards out, who had to shoot first-time but had a lot of goal to shoot at and no obvious reason for not scoring. The ball flies over the bar.

63 mins: Villa have a good spell, a period of dominance. Their first of the match. It lasts for a couple of minutes, before a dodgy Benteke lay-off hands possession back to the home side.

60 mins: From the corner the ball is laid back to Delph, running from deep, but his first-time shot from 22 yards is a bit useless, really.

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Villa nearly score!

59 mins: Benteke is tackled 20 yards out but the ball falls to Weimann, whose shot is deflected, hits a nonplussed Myhill and rolls six inches wide.

Ye Olde Triple Substitution

58 mins: Villa remain a goal away from being a goal away from drawing, so anything can still happen, but this has been an abject first hour. And finally the changes are rung: Weimann for Tonev, Agbonlahor for Kozak, and Delph for Sylla.

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56 mins: West Brom cross from the right, they cross from the left, they attack down the middle, and then Amalfitano cuts inside from the right and hits a left-foot shot over and wide from 20 yards.

53 mins: The game's first yellow card, after Mulumbu sticks out a foot and Tonev falls over it. "I have been watching Bacuna all through the game," writes Gokul Kannan. "Why? Because he is in my fantasy premier league team as a midfielder. But coming to the point, all through the game he has tried to pass back to the centre backs. Even after that goal. He has not been either defensively solid or aggressive going forward. What is he doing? Waiting to take a free kick?" Villa's right side, Bacuna and Sylla, has been a particularly poor combination tonight.

52 mins: Long chases a lost cause and conjures a flicked cross from the byline. There's nobody there to meet it.

51 mins: Bacuna gives the ball away to Mulumbu, who gives the ball away to Vlaar, who gives the ball away to Baker. Thirty seconds of total notverygoodness.

50 mins: A scrappy start to half two, much like the first only without the wondergoal.

47 mins: After their first-half humiliations, Paul Lambert has shaken up his team for the second half, hauling off … what's this … you mean he … no changes? Really?

Peeeeeeeeeep!

46 mins: They're off! Again!

Half-time: Jamie Carragher is comparing Long's first with Dennis Bergkamp's classic against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup. Both saw strikers produce brilliant first touches to control excellent long passes, but I think Bergkamp's is the better of two brilliant goals. Anyway, West Brom deserve no less than a two-goal lead, and with Anichebe, Anelka, Berahino and Vydra on the bench have a lot of attacking talent to play with if Long decides to spend some or all of the second-half with his feet up.

Half-time: West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Aston Villa

45+1 mins: Not a lot of stoppage time, but then it has been high-paced stuff. The key thing is, it's over. For now.

45 mins: Mulumbu battles his way pas El Ahmady and Clark, and then combines with Sylla to foul Yacob, his own team-mate. West Brom get the free-kick.

43 mins: I always think the phrase "this is like a cup game" suggests not only a certain manic tempo, but also that one or both teams don't look good enough to play in the top flight. Anyway, this is like a cup game.

40 mins: Another Villa shot, though again it's a) from outside the area, and b) useless. Tonev with it, low and not very hard and easily dealt with by Myhill.

39 mins: Only a bit more even, mind. Sessegnon leads another attack for West Brom, but loses the ball in attempting to poke it between two defenders and into the box.

37 mins: The last few minutes have been a bit more even, with the vague suggestion that Villa might at some point genuinely threaten the home goal. And they are, after all, still only one goal from being only one goal from drawing. Look on the bright side, eh?

35 mins: Benteke has a shot! It's from 20 yards, and is hit straight into a team-mate.

34 mins: West Brom are slashing Villa open with loopy 50-yard forward passes. Brunt's latest effort once again undid the defence, but was just too firm for Long.

Key event

31 mins: Long picks up the ball on the half-way line. Sessegnon pulls a couple of defenders left, but Long just keeps running and running unbothered by anybody until, just outside the penalty area, he blasts a shot goalwards, straight into Guzan's chest. That was (eventually) a great chance for the hat-trick!

29 mins: Vlaar denies Long his hat-trick! Amalfitano scoops a long ball towards Brunt, who knows he's offside, sticks his hands in the air and stops running. Villa's defence also stop running, and suddenly Long, who didn't stop running, is bearing down on goal. Vlaar recovers to take the ball off his toes in the penalty area.

27 mins: West Brom win, and waste, successive corners (strictly speaking the first wasn't wasted, because it led to another, but had Guzan not flapped it out of play it would have flown there entirely of its own accord).

25 mins: "Agbonlahor grew up in the area and knows the importance of these games," writes Danny Marsh. "He should be on the pitch. Villa need some bite." And as I paste that in, Villa do something good: Benteke flicks on Bacuna's forward ball, and Kozak controls nicely and half-volleys six inches over the bar from 20 yards.

23 mins: Benteke touches the ball. He's had no impact on the game so far, and probably hasn't touched the ball at all for 10 minutes. It's a header from a goal-kick, straight to a defender.

21 mins: The Baggies fling another free-kick from deep into the penalty area, and this one is just – just, though – too high for Olsson, and claimed by Guzan.

Incredible miss!

19 mins: A simple free-kick releases Amalfitano on the right, and his cross finds Sessegnon totally unmarked at the back post, with half the six-yard box all to himself. He kicks the ball into his standing leg and it dribbles wide! (To be charitable, there's a chance that the ball just skimmed Vlaar's head on its way over, which could have put Sessegnon off)

17 mins: Either Olsson just got away with a horribly miskicked clearance, or Kozak just nearly scored with a backheel volley. I'm not certain who touched the ball, but that was very nearly dreadful/amazing.

15 mins: This is not always brilliant – a crossfield pass has just bounced out of play, a good 20 yards from the nearest footballer – but it's crazily entertaining, and being played at a ludicrous tempo. More, please.

14 mins: Amalfitano's pass releases Mulumbu down the right, but there's nobody in the middle to turn in his tasty cross.

13 mins: Another shot from Villa, and it's Westwood with it. Sadly he's 40-odd yards from goal at the time, and the ball flies way over the bar.

GOAL! Another GOAL! WBA 2-0 Aston Villa (Long, 11 mins)

Bacuna's pass inside from Villa's right is intercepted by Long, and he tricks his way past Baker and then chips the ball over Guzan and into the roof of the net. This is virtuoso stuff from Long, but that goal is going to lead to nightmares aplenty in the Bacuna household.

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10 mins: Another Tonev shot, another Myhill save. This, though, was a weak old bibbly-bobbly mishit effort, only attempted because there was nobody in the penaly area was giving him an option.

8 mins: Tonev, who has left his foot in unnecessarily a couple of times already and also done Villa's only good attacking, looks like a red card and a genius goal waiting to happen. Having said that, he just won a throw-in.

7 mins: Olsson curls a free-kick from just inside Villa's half into the penalty area. Guzan comes off his line, catches, drops and then catches again.

6 mins: Save! Tonev cuts in from the left and shoots from 25 yards, the ball taking a slight deflection off McAuley and forcing Myhill into a full-length stop.

GOAL! Lovely GOAL! WBA 1-0 Aston Villa (Shane Long, 3mins)

3 mins: The first noteworthy pass was phenomenal, from the right boot of Chris Brunt, looping 45 yards over the Villa defence and into the path of Shane Long. He kills the ball with his first touch, shifts it onto his left foot and then curls low into the far corner. A great pass, a superb first touch and a pinpoint finish. Triple whammy.

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2 mins: There is quite a lot of crowd noise, but not a lot of successful passing so far.

They're off!

1 min: Peeeeeeeeeeeeep! The home side get the evening under way.

Before the game: a minute's applause in memory of Stuart Williams, West Brom's former full-back, who made nearly 250 appearances in 12 years at the club, and died recently at the age of 83

The players are in the tunnel! Kick-off is just moments* away!

* four minutes

I've never paid a lot of attention to the Jeff Astle Gates, but doesn't it look like someone's pointing a gun at his back? The lad looks absolutely terrified.

Incidentally, I think the love-in between Gary Neville and the media is occasionally tiresome, but the five minutes he and Jamie Carragher spent analysing Philippe Coutinho's goal for Liverpool on Saturday was worth the monthly Sky Sports subscription fee on its own.

The managers speak!

I'll admit off the bat that the way Sky cut from one to the other and then back again made this much more difficult than it should have been. But here's some highlights of the bosses' pre-match interviews.

Steve Clarke says: "I've gone with a team that's very similar because I felt that team deserved another chance to go out and get that win. They've played well away this year, I think they're set up to defend well, and with two big boys up front. We have to be patient, and we have to be clinical when we create the chances."

Paul Lambert says: "The team picked itself. It's going to be difficult because of the way they play, they're going to be very organised. The fans are vital to us. The away support is fantastic, they get right behind us. We just need to play the game, not the occasion."

The Press Association's take on those teams:

West Brom boss Steve Clarke made one change to his first XI for the Barclays Premier League clash with midlands rivals Aston Villa at The Hawthorns.

The sole adjustment from the 2-2 draw at Chelsea came in defence as Goran Popov replaced the injured Liam Ridgewell, while frontman Nicolas Anelka, sidelined recently by a groin complaint, was among the substitutes.

Villa manager Paul Lambert selected the same line-up that had started the 2-0 home win over Cardiff last time out, with striker Christian Benteke keeping his place despite sustaining a knee problem during the international break.

Fit-again trio Andreas Weimann, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Fabian Delph were back involved, all being named on the bench.

The teams!

West Brom: Myhill, Reid, McAuley, Olsson,Popov, Mulumbu, Yacob, Amalfitano, Sessegnon, Brunt, Long. Subs: Morrison, Anichebe, Luke Daniels, Vydra, Dawson, Berahino, Anelka.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Clark, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Sylla, Tonev, Benteke, Kozak. Subs: Weimann, Agbonlahor, Steer, Delph, Herd, Bowery, Lowton.
Referee: Michael Oliver.

Good evening world!

FACTS!

• The teams have only ever played once on 25 November, precisely 35 years ago. West Brom had just got back from a 1-1 Uefa Cup draw at Valencia, Villa were in the midst of an injury crisis and it was snowing. It was another 1-1 draw, but December 1978 was to become one of the Baggies' greatest-ever months, featuring no draws, no defeats, and wins against Middlesbrough, Wolves, Arsenal, Manchester United and Valencia at home. West Brom finished 1978 third, and were still there when the season ended.

• Other classic meetings in the twentysomethings of a month include 1983's Aston Villa 4-3 West Bromwich Albion August crackerjack, featuring Ken McNaught's debut for West Brom, against the club he left a few days earlier, six first-half goals (it was 3-3 at the break), and a winner from Brendan Ormsby.

• Lily Allen is No1 this week with Somewhere Only We Know. She has previously had No1s in 2009 (The Fear; only one meeting, Villa 2-1 WBA) and 2006 (Smile; two meetings, WBA 1-2 Villa and Villa 0-0 WBA). The only other person with "allen" in their name to have had a UK No1 hit single is Kitty Kallen, who reached the top of the hit parade with Little Things Mean a Lot in 1954 (WBA 1-1 Villa, Villa 6-1 WBA, WBA 2-3 Villa). The head-to-head score in years when someone called Allen or with a name ending in -allen has had a No1 single is: Played 6, Villa wins 4, West Brom wins 0, Draws 2.

• Robbie Williams is No1 in the album charts with Swings both Ways. Previous No1 albums with the word "ways" in the title: Taller in More Ways by Sugababes, 2005 (one match: Villa 1-1 WBA), and Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned by Prodigy in 2004 (WBA 1-1 Villa). There was also Cuts Both Ways by Gloria Estefan, but the clubs didn't meet in 1989.

• Of the 14 league matches between these sides in the Premier League era, 50% have finished in a draw, and the other 50% have finished in 2-1 wins (five to Villa, two to West Brom). In all 15.6% of all matches between these teams have ended with someone winning 2-1 (that's 25 out of 160).

• Nine of West Brom's 12 league goals this season have come in the second half of matches. That's 75%, which is a lot, but not as many as Swansea (82.4%) or Norwich (90%). Don't read too much into that stat, though: at home West Brom are better in the first half than the second, having scored just as many first-half goals as second (three each), but only conceded once in the first half, compared with three in the second. Away from home they have yet to score in the first half at all. As for Villa, it looks like you need to score early or you won't score at all – they've conceded twice in the opening 15 minutes of away games, and once in the other 75 (plus double helping of stoppage time) combined.

• Half-time scores in Villa's matches this season are entirely binary: 1-1, 1-1, 0-1, 0-1, 0-1, 0-1, 0-0, 0-1, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0. So 77.78% of all first-half goals in Aston Villa league games are scored by the away side, which may be encouraging for them, though clearly their first halves aren't exactly thrill-a-minute. As for West Brom, 87.5% of all first-half goals in their games are scored by the home side. There has been, on average, 2.1 goals in each of Aston Villa's league games this season – 0.8 in an average first half, and 1.3 in the average second.

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Simon will be here from 7.30pm.

Lambert spices up West Brom rivalry

Paul Lambert spiced up Monday's West Midlands derby at West Bromwich Albion by insisting Aston Villa are still a bigger club than their neighbours.

The Villa Park team have traditionally been regarded as the top side in the region due to their 1982 European Cup success, large fan base and 42,000 capacity stadium. However, it is the more modest West Brom who have established themselves as the top team in the Midlands in recent seasons, finishing higher than their rivals in the Premier League in the past two years.

While Villa have had to significantly tighten their belts financially and Birmingham and Wolves find themselves languishing in the Football League, Albion are going from strength to strength under their chairman Jeremy Peace.

Continue reading here …

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