West Brom v Aston Villa, Saturday 15:00
– West Brom threw away 3 points last weekend, as Reading came back from a 0-2 deficit to score 3 goals in the final eight minutes. The Baggies had been in total control for large parts of the match, so Steve Clarke will be looking to seeing his attacking-minded team respond this week and close out the match with more efficiency.
– The Baggies back four have certainly been busy this season but have proven themselves to be more than up to the task. Defenders Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson and Liam Ridgewell have collectively combined for a massive 570 defensive contributions this season, providing the stability for their attacking players to venture forward.
– Belgian youngster Romelu Lukaku made a point of saying how much he is enjoying his time at West Brom, an easy inference to make as the striker is flourishing under Steve Clarke. His 9 goals are the product of an excellent 75% shot accuracy rate from 44 attempts, the highest of any of the top ten scorers in the Premier League this season.
– Fellow striker Shane Long’s all-action style is unfortunately lead him down the wrong path defensively-speaking this season. The 31 fouls he’s racked up so far is the highest total of any Baggies player according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– James Morrison remains the pivotal figure in the West Brom midfield, leading the squad for both passes completed in the opponent’s half with 390, and assists with 6.
– George Thorne was the man to who stood out in terms of workrate last weekend, the young defender clearly desperate to grab the chance to add to his limited appearances this season. He ran for 6.61 miles according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– A controversial penalty saw Aston Villa fall to a 0-1 defeat at home to Southampton on Saturday, pushing them in the Premier League’s relegation zone.
– Gabriel Agbonglahor may have been struggling to consistently find the net this season, but the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index suggests that the West Brom defence may have to be alert to stop his bad run of luck from changing. He has a 73% shot accuracy rate from 11 attempts, yet only one goal.
– Fellow striker Christian Benteke has also been finding goals a little hard to come by in the past few weeks, despite a stellar start to his Premier League career. However, he remains by far the biggest threat Aston Villa possess up front, having a combined total of 10 goals and assists.
– Defender Matthew Lowton is part of the lastest crop of talented youngsters to come through at Villa and his performances have demonstrated a maturity beyond his 23 years. He has a remarkable 79.1% success rate rom 72 attempted tackle and has only conceded 15 fouls.
– He will be looking to add to his offensive weapons as his development continues though. He currently has the second highest total for crosses delivered without an assist, with 29, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.