Despite the recent inconsistency in the results, Valerian Ismael’s side are placed at the third spot in the Championship with nine wins, five draws, and three losses in 17 matches. West Brom’s defensive record this season has also been impressive and is surpassed only by league leaders Bournemouth and second-placed Fulham. One player who has been a prominent part of Ismael’s starting eleven this season and has gone relatively under the radar is Darnell Furlong.
Furlong has missed just one game for West Brom so far this season, featuring in 16 games in the Championship and making three assists. He is a versatile wingback who balances his attacking attributes with defensive ones. Having risen through the ranks of QPR’s youth setup, Furlong went on to make 64 appearances for QPR. He joined West Brom in 2019 and since then, has been a regular feature in the Baggies’ lineup. Furlong made 31 appearances in the Championship in his first season at the Hawthorns. With a host of Premier League teams monitoring Furlong’s progress, West Brom could have a hard time keeping hold of him.
Let’s analyze Furlong’s stats this season in the Championship to understand his role in the Baggies’ defense.
Furlong’s defensive stats this season are impressive. He has averaged more than seven defensive duels per match. In addition, he averages upward of four loose ball duels per match and more than two recoveries in the opponent half per match as well. Furlong is an athletic defender who is calm and composed with the ball. His awareness in the pitch allows him to plug any gaps in his defense.
Furlong’s pass map indicates the areas of the pitch where he has delivered his passes this season. In addition to short and precise passes, Furlong is also capable of switching the play with his crosses. His best attribute is his crosses inside the opposition box from the right wing and half-spaces, many of which carry a high threat.
Furlong’s work rate on the right side of the pitch is impressive. In Ismael’s high-intensity system, Furlong has been deployed as a right-back in 5-3-2 formation, while he has been given the role of a right wing-back in the 3-4-3 formation, further indicating his versatility. His heat map indicates that he has been most active in the opponent half in the half-spaces on the right flank.
Furlong has made the joint-highest crosses for the Baggies so far this season with 66 crosses. As a result, he is placed sixth in the league in terms of crosses, along with teammate Conor Townsend. Furlong is also strong in aerial duels and possesses impressive concentration, while his interception is similarly brilliant.
Furlong has been impressive for the Baggies since joining the club. Under Ismael, he remains a mainstay of the defense, who is allowed to join in the attack quite often. His overall performances this season have also been brilliant and will be an asset for West Brom as they eye promotion to the Premier League next season.