Micah Richards has told Match of the Day that Sam Johnstone was exceptional as West Bromwich Albion secured their first Premier League win of the season on Saturday.
Slaven Bilic’s men moved themselves out of the bottom three as they beat Sheffield United at the Hawthorns. But it is surely fair to say that they did their best to give their supporters a good scare.
The Blades had 21 attempts on goal (via Whoscored). And they had a number of fantastic chances to find an equaliser. However, when called upon, Johnstone produced some stunning saves.
His display came a week after a similarly-superb performance against his old club at Old Trafford. And Richards insisted that he is not surprised to see the goalkeeper stand out at the highest level.
“I was with him at Aston Villa. I always knew he would be a star,” he told Match of the Day. “He was unlucky to leave Manchester United at the wrong time. But he was exceptional again today. He was exceptional against Manchester United last week.”
Johnstone has not always had the easiest time at the Hawthorns. He has come in for criticism at various points after his form has dipped.
However, he is now silencing a lot of his doubters. And that should only hand his confidence a huge boost.
The Baggies will certainly take a lot of belief from the win. They rode their luck at times on Saturday. But anyone who has followed them this season will insist that they deserved some fortune.
And many will now be hoping that they kick on from here. It is looking set to be a tough season for the Baggies. But the win came after pushing both Tottenham and Manchester United.
And given Johnstone’s current form, it would hardly be surprising if there were plenty more clean sheets to come.