West Brom can have no complaints after Aston Villa were awarded a penalty for Semi Ajayi’s challenge on Ross Barkley in the opening stages.

That is the view of former FIFA and Premier League referee Keith Hackett, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the incident that led to the game’s opening goal.

Barkley latched onto a loose ball after Anwar El Ghazi’s shot was blocked and he attempted to take it around Ajayi before he was fouled.

Aston Villa

The West Brom defender appeared to kick the heel of Barkley who went down without a second invitation.

El Ghazi converted the resulting spot-kick to put Dean Smith’s side 1-0 up with just nine minutes on the clock.

Speaking after the game, West Brom boss Sam Allardyce told BT Sport it was a “sloppy” penalty to give away but his side grew into the game.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

On the sidelines, he looked visibly unimpressed but did not complain to the fourth official.

“First of all, Stuart Atwell’s in a really good position,” Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.

“He’s probably got the ideal view of it, he’s in close proximity to play.

“There’s a kick on his heel.

“I think he knows full well, Sam [Allardyce] and others, if there’s a touch the players go down. For me, it’s a penalty kick.”

The draw gave Albion’s survival hopes a huge blow as they are now nine points behind Brighton & Hove Albion in 17th.

Villa sit in 11th, one point behind Arsenal in 10th but they have won just once in their last nine Premier League games.

In other news, Aston Villa have been tipped to swoop for an “ideal” Barkley replacement.