On Tuesday, 14th placed West Bromwich Albion take on the league leaders Fulham at the Hawthorns in the EFL Championship. In the reverse fixture back in October 2021, Fulham won 3-0 at Craven Cottage courtesy of a hat-trick from Aleksandar Mitrovic. Coming into this game, West Brom drew 2-2 at home against Huddersfield Town, and Fulham were held to a 1-1 draw against Barnsley.
In their last match, West Brom drew 2-2 with Huddersfield with goals from Karlan Grant and Andy Carroll. This draw leaves West Brom in 14th place on the points table with a record of 13 wins, 11 draws, and 12 losses. West Brom have been the worst-performing attack by xG standards. According to the xG, West Brom should have scored 60 goals by now, but they have scored only 39 goals, a woeful performance in front of the goal.
Karlan Grant is the team’s top goalscorer with 13 goals to his name. Behind him is Callum Robinson, with five goals. As shown in the shot map above, West Brom have missed too many big chances from inside the opposition penalty area, hence the underperformance on their xG.
Defender Darnell Furlong is West Brom’s most successful threat creator, with a score of 17.19. He primarily creates the threat through his throw-ins. Two other West Brom players score more than 10 in threat creation. From this, we can understand that West Brom have no problem creating chances, but their main issue lies in taking these chances.
Fulham come into this game after being held to a shock 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened Barnsley. Nonetheless, they sit on top of the table with a 12-point gap from Bournemouth (though Bournemouth have two games in hand). This draw against Barnsley meant that Fulham now have won 23 games, drawn eight, and lost five. Fulham have scored 90 goals this campaign, outperforming their xG by nearly 10 whole goals. This is in sharp contrast to their opponents, who are the worst underperformers in the attack.
Fulham’s dominance this season speaks volumes, as shown above in the chart. The only two categories where Fulham have not performed as well are long pass accuracy% and aerial duels won per 90.
This clash is between two teams who are performing opposite to their expected output. Fulham are overachieving on their xG, and West Brom are underachieving on their xG – both by huge margins. Fulham will look to extend their lead at the top of the table with a win, and West Brom need to start firing on all cylinders offensively.