On Saturday 9th April 2022, 11th placed West Bromwich Albion take on 15th placed Stoke City at the Hawthorns in the EFL Championship. In the reverse fixture back in October 2021, it was Stoke that came out on top with a 1-0 win; Nick Powell scored the only goal of the game. Coming into this game, West Brom won 2-0 against Bournemouth, and Stoke lost 1-2 away at Reading.
West Brom won their previous game 2-0 against a stronger Bournemouth team. Alex Mowatt and Andy Carroll scored for the Baggies. This win leaves West Brom with a record of 15 wins, 12 draws, and 13 losses to their name. Yet despite this win, WBA have been severely underperforming going forward. The Baggies should have scored 65 goals according to xG, but in reality, they are the worst-performing attack in the league relative to xG, with only 44 goals to their name.
Above is the shot map of West Brom this season. The underperformance is clearly visible with the big orange and red circles that have an xG value of 0.35 or above. Had they converted at least some of these missed opportunities, they could be challenging teams in the promotion play-off spots. Karlan Grant is the team’s top scorer with 14 goals to his name. However, Grant has received very little support, as no other Baggies player has netted even half his tally.
What’s worse is that West Brom have been creating chances regularly, as seen by the threat creation scores put up by their top three of Darnell Furlong, Conor Townsend, and Alex Mowatt. So, the biggest problem for West Brom this campaign has been converting chances.
Stoke City are coming off a 1-2 loss away at relegation-threatened Reading. Romaine Sawyers scored the only goal for Stoke in that defeat. This loss now means Stoke have 14 wins, 10 draws, and 16 losses to their name. In spite of this loss, Stoke have a slightly overachieving defence as they have conceded 46 times against an xGA score of 48.
Given above is the chart of Stoke City’s performances relative to the rest of the league. Stoke are experiencing an average season in front of the goal with 1.08 goals per game, putting them in the 51st percentile. The Potters are taking less than 10 shots a game. However, they are in the top one percent for dribble success rate this season.
This is a clash of two mid-table teams. WBA are performing way below expectations, while Stoke City are performing as expected. The Baggies and the Potters will want to win this game to solidify their mid-table status.