On Friday 15th April 2022, 12th placed West Brom face 16th placed Blackpool in the EFL Championship. The last time these two teams met back in November 2021, it was a goalless draw at Blackpool. Coming into this game, West Brom lost 1-3 at home to Stoke City and Blackpool drew 1-1 with Blackpool.
West Brom are coming off a 1-3 home loss against Stoke City. Callum Robinson scored what proved to be nothing more than a consolation. This loss leaves West Brom with a record of 15 wins, 12 draws and 14 losses. The biggest reason why WBA are stuck in mid-table mediocrity is due to their massive underperformance in attack. According to xG, West Brom should have scored 67 goals by now but they have netted only 45 times, a huge difference of -22 (actual goals – xG).
This underachievement can be seen in the above shot map which shows all of WBA’s shots excluding penalties. The Baggies must be the team with the most big chances missed this season (xG value of 0.45 or greater) as seen by the big orange and red circles. Karlan Grant has also not received much support from his teammates in goalscoring.
What’s worse for WBA is that they are generating opportunities to score in abundance but are just not able to finish them off. Three players have an xT score of over 10.0 (Darnell Furlong, Conor Townsend and Alex Mowatt). The team’s leader in assists is Callum Robinson with five to his name but he and the rest of his teammates should have had more.
Blackpool are coming off a 1-1 draw against Blackburn away from home. Marvin Ekpiteta scored for the Tangerines in that game. That draw means Blackpool have a record of 14 wins, 11 draws and 15 losses. Like West Brom, Blackpool are also underperforming according to xG but not as much as the Baggies. xG says that the Tangerines should have netted 53 but in reality they have scored 44.
Shown in the above graph is the performances of Blackpool relative to the rest of the league. The Tangerines have an xG per game of 1.21 but an actual goals per game of 0.99. They are also underperforming in assists per game compared to xA per game. Creatively, Blackpool are also struggling with average ranking in key passes per game, smart passes per game and through balls per game.
This match is an interesting clash because the two teams involved are underperformers in attack, one team even more so. There is nothing else other than pride left for both these teams because they are too far from both relegation and promotion play-offs.