Baggies back to winning ways?
After three consecutive frustrating draws Valerien Ismael’s men will be intent on getting back to winning ways when they welcome Queens Park Rangers to the Hawthorns on Friday evening. Matt Phillips cancelled Ben Whiteman’s opener as the Baggies drew 1-1 with Preston North End last time out, falling out of the automatic promotion spots as a result. West Brom supporters cannot have asked for much more than four wins and four draws to start the campaign, if they carry on picking up points at this rate they will cruise towards a top two finish. The Baggies are firm favourites to get the win but there is still value by combining more than one selection.
The underlying numbers make the bookmakers stance and pricing up West Brom at under 1.70 understandable. The Baggies have created 2.34 expected goals (xG) for per match, unsustainably underperforming to notch just 14 from 18.7 xG. In other words, if they keep creating the quality of chances they are at the moment, then eventually they will start to score more. Ismael’s men have only scored three in their last four games, despite edging the affairs against Derby County and Preston North End.
West Brom have the best attack and fourth most solid defence in terms of expected goals and rank second for expected points. Grady Diangana seems to be hitting his straps after a brief easing in period after a disappointing injury hit 2020/21. Diangana along with the likes of Karlan Grant, Matt Phillips and Jordan Hugill ensures the Baggies have an attacking contingent capable of battling for automatic promotion for the remainder of the campaign.
It will be interesting to see how Mark Warburton approaches the test of the unbeaten Baggies. QPR come in as significant outsiders but will be quietly confident of giving Sam Johnstone plenty to think about in between the sticks. Ilias Chair is Rangers’ star man and when he is onsong they can be very difficult to play against. Both teams are currently using a back three system, the midfield battle could be extremely absorbing viewing.
Rangers have created 1.44 xG per match so far this season and have unsustainably overperformed to score 16 from 11.5 xG, they are trending as a mid table side despite flirting with the play-offs in the opening knockings of the campaign. Warburton is an attacking manager and will try to win every game he goes into, they are trending as a slightly better offensive side with Seny Dieng a key player in goal to earn them extra points throughout the season.
WBA are rightful favourites due to the underlying numbers and should get back to winning ways against an overperforming QPR side.