West Brom were very unlucky in many ways not to come away with at least a point from their trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Saturday.
Key decisions at key junctures in the match went against them and had they converted the penalty that was initially given on the field, the rest of the game could have followed an entirely different pattern.
However, when analysing the match in the cold light of day, Slaven Bilic needs to look at it without the emotion of the moment and realise that his side still failed to create clear cut chances and gave up too many.
To this point, goalkeeper Sam Johnstone told the club’s official website at full-time: “We rode our look at times but we hit the crossbar, had a couple of good chances and I think a point would’ve been fair.”
While there is a fair argument that the Baggies did not get much luck in terms of the officiating, United certainly had the better of the chances and Bilic was left thanking Johnstone for a couple of exceptional saves.
Across the 90 minutes, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team had 16 shots to West Brom’s seven, generating 2.57 expected goals over the 90 minutes to the Baggies’ 0.57. Now this is distorted slightly by the penalty decisions at either end, but aside from those incidents, United had 10 shots inside the West Brom area (via InfoGol).
Of those, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both had better than 0.38 xG chances, with the Baggies’ best opportunity of the game 0.34 xG falling to left-back Conor Townsend (via InfoGol).
Now this is not to be overly critical of Bilic or his side at all, or to argue that they should be going to Old Trafford and playing United off the park. Far from it.
However, it is just a warning to say that they cannot obsess over the bad decisions and should instead analyse the match properly and take the appropriate lessons. The Baggies have struggled to defend and create all season and the priority has to be finding improvements ahead of next weekend’s fixture with Sheffield United.
In other West Brom news, Chris Wilder has responded to links between West Brom and a Sheffield Utd player