By Ryan Darby

21st Dec, 2020 | 8:28am

View: Big Sam making big mistake by putting shackles on key Baggies star

Sunday night’s heavy defeat at home to Aston Villa highlighted a number of key issues for West Brom under the management of Sam Allardyce. 

Perhaps one of the biggest and more under-appreciated factors could be the influence and role that Conor Gallagher will play under the former England manager.

The Chelsea loanee has been one of Albion’s best players this season, with two goals to his name so far.

As per WhoScored’s average match ratings, Gallagher leads the way for the Baggies, with only Connor Townsend coming close to rivalling him.

However, seeing the shackled performance that Gallager put in against Villa should be a huge early concern for Albion supporters.

It was noticeable that Gallagher made more interceptions and competed for more defensive duels against Villa than he has averaged per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season, according to Wyscout.

However, things start to look a little bleaker for Albion when you look at Gallagher’s numbers on the ball.

This season in the Premier League, Gallagher has averaged 3.43 passes into the final third but against Villa, he completed just one, as per Wyscout.

Perhaps even more worryingly, per 90 minutes he has averaged nearly eight forward passes for Albion – he again, completed just one against Dean Smith’s side on Sunday night [Wyscout].

Gallagher has been one of just a few glimmers of hope for Albion this season, with the Chelsea youngster lighting up the Premier League with some eye-catching performances.

Earlier this season, former Baggies boss Slaven Bilic said he has ‘everything’ and could enjoy a ‘massive career’, so Allardyce could be missing out by putting the shackles on him in a bid to stay up.

It is easy to forget that Allardyce only had a matter of hours on the training ground with his new squad, but the performance was worryingly abject from the Baggies, who never looked like threatening the visitors.

In other West Brom news, 45% duels won & just one tackle – 25y/o West Brom star has horror night v Villa