At the very least, West Brom have to see Friday’s defeat to Brentford as an opportunity to learn some valuable lessons for the rest of the season. 

The Baggies were never at the races, and they will know that if they continue to perform like that they will seriously jeopardise their chances of securing a top two spot this summer.

But what went so wrong for Albion in the capital?

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At first glance, it’s hard to say.

Their possession stats were only 3.28% lower than usual, while they limited their hosts to just six shots, as per Wyscout.

But it was how they used the ball that was really the main concern.

In terms of passing, they made 80.16 fewer than their season average.

That’s a large drop-off, even for a team that had 3% possession less than normal.

A closer look at those passing stats open up yet more problems.

Compared to their average output, Albion made 16 fewer forward passes, and had a completion rate that was 4% worse.

And it’s easy to see the domino effect of that figure.

The Baggies had three shots less than usual, and their xG was just 0.44 compared to their season average of 1.44.

That’s a huge decrease, and one that ultimately came back to bite them.

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Forced to shoot from distance – with their average effort coming from 5.38 yards further out – they never found a proper rhythm, and allowed their intensity to drop.

Albion’s match tempo index was just 15.39 compared to their usual 16.74.

In short, they lacked incisiveness, and when that cutting edge was blunted, they began to creak and crumble.

It’s not exactly rocket science, but if West Brom are to bounce back against Sheffield Wednesday, they need to be more direct and more pacy.

If they can recapture that spark, they should stroll to victory.

In other West Brom news, Bilic is eyeing up a move for this West Ham defender.

Be sure to follow West Brom News on Facebook and Twitter for 24/7 updates on the Baggies and more exclusive interviews with Kevin Phillips.

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