West Bromwich Albion recently beat Peterborough United in the fifth game week of the EFL Championship. The Baggies have been impressive so far this season with 13 points after winning four consecutive league matches. They have scored 12 goals in the 5 matches they have played. They have adapted to a new style of play under new head coach, Valerien Ismael. Ismael is known to have a high-intensity philosophy with the teams he has managed and his gameplay involves players pressing higher up the field.
West Brom are second on the list in terms of passes attempted into the final third of the pitch, but have the lowest accuracy rate of those passes being played into the final third. They have attempted a total of 305 passes into the final third which boils down to almost 60 passes per game on average. Of those 60 passes per game, they have an accuracy rate of 48.2% passes being completed.
Let’s have a look at their expected threat creation zones from their recent win against Peterborough United. West Brom’s xT creation zones show us that they were able to impose a threat to the opponent’s defence by playing passes from the midfield areas. The low passing accuracy rate of the West Brom defenders indicate that the defenders did try to play more final balls into the final third, but their attackers were unable to win those balls. The midfielders did enjoy a higher accuracy rate for their passes and also had a higher xT from their passes.
Valerien Ismael follows a more direct approach of attacking the goal with more final balls into the final third and pressing higher up the pitch which forces the opponents into their own half. Because of this, the opposition have more men in their own half while defending and can intercept the passes played by the West Brom players into the final third of the pitch.
However, even if West Brom have the lowest accuracy rate for passes into the final third of the pitch, they have the highest number of key passes in the league. They have the same number of key passes as Fulham, who have the same number of points but are leading the table on goal difference. This indicates that West Brom players have made the right decisions in the dangerous positions while they are in the final third of the pitch by playing key passes to their attackers.
West Brom currently do not have an out and out striker. Ismael’s direct style of play means that they need a target man up top who forward who can win aerial duels and hold the ball up in the final third of the pitch.