Blues too big at the Hawthorns
The Championship returns on Friday evening with a derby between West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City. Valerian Ismael’s Baggies sit second in the table but lost their unbeaten run at Stoke City last time out before the international break. Birmingham have lost four of their last five matches only scoring once in the form of a Troy Deeney penalty. Without a goal from open play in their last the Baggies are understandably strong favourites for the encounter.
Lee Bowyer’s visitors made a very good start to the season and still look like a team who will not be involved in a relegation battle for a change. West Brom are a menacing prospect considering the Blues’ lack of goal potency but two weeks on the training ground will have done them good in looking to arrest their slide.
The Blues’ underlying numbers in terms of expected goals (xG) are much better than their league position suggests. Birmingham are sixteenth in the second tier but sixth in the xG, looking closer into that they have underperformed unsustainably in attack, suggesting that their goalscoring form will turn around in the near future.
The visitors have scored just ten times from chances equating to 16.9 xGF which is the seventh best attacking process in the division. They have also conceded 15 from chances equating to just 12.1 xGA, Matija Sarkic has made some questionable mistakes in between the sticks, the sooner Neil Etheridge is fit for the Blues the better.
West Brom’s underlying numbers are also strong, ranking third for attacking process and fourth in defence. Averaging 2.0 xGF and 1.06 xGA per game, a very solid process that will sustain an automatic promotion push for the Baggies if they continue their methods.
A goals angle is not preferable for me, however it is worth looking at some of the recent form. My angle is getting Birmingham onside as I feel the market are not showing them enough respect.
- WBA have scored in seven of ten.
- WBA have conceded in six of ten.
- WBA have seen both teams score in four of ten.
- WBA have seen over 2.5 goals in five of ten.
- Blues have scored in four of ten.
- Blues have conceded in seven of ten.
- Blues have seen both teams score in two of ten.
- Blues have seen over 2.5 goals in four of ten.
Both sides have top six defensive processes and therefore an unders punt could suit this fixture but I want to give the visitors a goal headstart. If WBA win by one goal our stake will be returned.