West Brom vs Brighton | Saturday 27th February 2021, 15:00 | Sky Sports
Scarred from a 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace on Monday night, to which Brighton had 52 touches in the Eagles’ box compared to two in their own, Graham Potter must rally the troops for trip to the Hawthorns to face Sam Allardyce’s doomed West Brom.
The Albion from the south coast have been far stronger this term, sitting just three places above the Baggies in the table, however with a comfortable gap of 12 points.
It beggars belief how the Seagulls threw away at least a point on Monday evening and it will be interesting to learn the state of their mental strength and whether they can pick themselves up for this very winnable matchup.
This West Brom team are one of the worst we have seen in Premier League history, even supposedly Mr Reliable Big Sam cannot mobilise them to even compete against relegation, having said that they have drawn their last two, equally their longest unbeaten run of the season and face a reeling Brighton side who could not put them away at the Amex.
Mbaye Diagne, on loan from Galatasaray, has given them more of a presence up top and one that flair players like Matheus Pereira can operate around, it is not going to be enough but it is a positive nonetheless. They have comfortably the worst attacking and defensive process in the league.
The Baggies have scored 19 goals from 21.6 expected goals (xG)and conceded 55, yes 55, from chances equating to 48.5 xG.
West Brom’s one saving grace is that despite their excellent underlying data, Brighton’s finishing this season has been incredibly poor. First choice striker Neal Maupay has underperformed his xG by 4.19, Danny Welbeck has by 1.7 and Leandro Trossard by 1.69, to name a few.
It is not as straightforward as finishing chances as the visitors typically create a lot of low probability chances rather than fewer higher quality ones, which is linked to the disparity in the xG data, but whatever it is that is going on, it is not sustainable and whether it be in this final stretch of the season or the next campaign, they will give someone a good tonking at some point.
Potter’s men sit fifth in xG standings compared to 16th in the table, underperforming their xG by scoring just 26 from 40.1, a difference of 14.1 xG. This alarming trend has seen their excellent defensive process go under the radar, led brilliantly by Lewis Dunk typically in the centre of a back three they have conceded 32 goals from 28.9 xG this term, the third best process in the division.
Without knowing much about the mental fragility of the group, I sense that the Palace defeat will have an impact, so keeping a clean sheet, which they are more than capable of doing, is their best route to earning a positive result in this fixture.
Young Spaniard Robert Sanchez has looked far more assured between the sticks than his predecessor Matthew Ryan, so I would not expect the Baggies to profit too much going forward in this encounter.
West Brom vs Brighton – Both Teams To Score ‘No' (37/40 BetVictor)