On Sunday 3rd April 2022, 19th placed Birmingham City will take on 12th placed West Bromwich Albion (WBA) in the EFL Championship. In the reverse fixture back in October 2021, it was West Brom that came out on top with a 1-0 win, with Karlan Grant scoring the only goal of the game. Coming into this game, Birmingham City drew 0-0 with Swansea City, and West Brom drew 2-2 with Bristol City.
Birmingham City come into this game after playing a goalless draw against Swansea City. This result means Birmingham are now in 19th place with a record of ten wins, 12 draws, and 17 losses. xG predicted Birmingham City to score 46 times so far this season, but they have underperformed by netting only 42 goals.
Birmingham’s underperformance in attack is visible in the above shot map. From open play, there have been several shots with an xG of over 0.4 that were either saved by the keepers or entirely off target. This is the main reason why their top goalscorer, Scott Hogan, has only ten goals to his name. No other Birmingham player has even reached six goals.
Defender Marc Roberts is Birmingham’s most successful threat creator this season, with a score of over 16. Jeremie Bela is next on the list, whose threat creation score is also over 10. Still, the leading assist providers of Birmingham have only two each, which shows the lack of finishing ability of the strikers.
West Brom are coming off a thrilling 2-2 draw against Bristol City. Karlan Grant and Adam Reach scored for the team, with the latter netting in stoppage time to snatch two points away from Bristol City. This draw leaves West Brom with a record of 14 wins, 12 draws and losses each. Still, throughout the season, West Brom have been, by far, the worst-performing attack when taking into account the xG difference. West Brom have netted 42 goals this season, but xG predicted them to score 63, a whopping difference of -21 goals.
This massive underperformance by West Brom in front of the goal can be seen in the above chart. Their percentile rank for xG per 90 is 76, but their actual goals per 90 percentile rank is only 43. It’s even worse in assists. West Brom’s xA per 90 percentile rank is 81, but their actual assists per 90 percentile rank is only 42.
This clash is between two teams that are underperforming in the attack. Birmingham are slightly underperforming, but West Brom are massively underperforming. Perhaps, this may be one reason why both teams are stuck in the mid-table this campaign.