View: Only one West Brom player can turn table around – Big Sam must pin hopes on him
With goals in short supply, new West Brom manager Sam Allardyce must turn to one man to help solve his side’s attacking deficiencies – the returning Matheus Pereira.
With a meagre 10 goals scored in 14 Premier League games this season – only fellow strugglers Sheffield United and Burnley have less (8) – Big Sam must act swiftly to increase the team’s output.
Now, after returning from a three-game suspension, he will be able to call upon the services of the influential Pereira, a man who is instrumental in orchestrating attacks for the Baggies.
Quite how the Brazilian will slot into the team will be of particular intrigue, but there is no debating that Allardyce must find space for him somewhere – and here’s why.
In Sunday’s derby defeat to Aston Villa, West Brom posted an xG of 0.04 – a truly awful statistic representative of the attritional display they produced.
Grady Diangana and Matt Phillips failed to provide some much-needed creativity, while Conor Gallagher was forced to operate in a deeper midfield role after they were reduced to 10 men.
This is where Pereira becomes so crucial. The 24-year-old has an SCA90 (Shot-Creating Actions per 90 minutes) of 4.36 in the Premier League this season – the nearest challenger in the West Brom squad is Phillips with 2.70.
No player at the club matches his expected goals and assists per 90 either (0.26).
Furthermore, no one has contributed to more league goals than Pereira for the Baggies (three).
With Big Sam famed for his work on set pieces and penchant for strikers with aerial abilities, he should be rubbing his hands with glee at the thought of Pereira standing over a free kick or corner.
Striker Charlie Austin in particular might feel the coupled benefit of Allardyce’s appointment and Pereira’s return, after beginning the season out of favour.
With 17 assists in the Championship last season, Pereira has already proved to be an invaluable asset, and it is now up to Allardyce to provide the platform for him to shine at an elite level.
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