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West Brom vs Manchester City - Preview and Prediction

Posted on Oct 19th, 2012 by Araz Heydariyehzadeh

Baggies on Fire
Steve Clarke was everyone's favourite to be the first Premier League manager to get the sack and West Brom amongst the favourites to be one of the teams fighting to avoid the fag end of the league after the late departure of Roy Hodgson last season.

7 games in though the Baggies themselves in 6th place, only one defeat on their record and currently with 4 wins out of 4 and only 2 goals conceded, with the best home record in the league so what is it that is making a mockery of the forecasts of bookies, supporters and pundits alike?

What is West Brom's Secret?
If you're looking at their fixture list as the sneaky assistant to their great start you'll need to look elsewhere. Liverpool, Everton, Spurs and an inform Fulham side at Craven Cottage have all been amongst their opponents with only the latter managing to defeat Clarke's men. So here at PLP we delved deeper in to their stats to see if there was a numerical explanation to their inspired form and what we found was....well, nothing.

Having looked a whole range of key attacking and defensive stats such as shots, chances created, possession, pass success rate, tackles per game, arial duels won and so on the only stat where we could find West Brom above mid-table the "Off-Sides" table, which only shows their forwards have perhaps shown a little too much attacking endeavour but it tells us nothing about why only Chelsea and Man City have scored more home goals than West Brom, and why no team in the top half of the table has conceded fewer than them.

Then the penny dropped, West Brom have actually been awful away from home and whilst their general stats don't improve much at The Hawthorns their ratios tell the story. They have used what little they have had in the way of chances and possession with deadly intent. Just 45% average possession (the 4th worst in the league) and 20 shots on target have lead to 9 goals, when compared to the very top teams in the league those kind of ratios are almost impossible to beat.

Like a team of super scrimpers they have used the resources at their disposal to devastating effect and any team who can do that poses a serious threat to opponents of any calibre including Manchester City.

Manchester City On The Road
Only 22% of our users so far are backing West Brom to get even a draw but a look at City's away record over the last couple of seasons might show this to be a little short sighted. Even this season City have not been sparkling on their travels and their current vulnerability at the back may well be something that a team with West Brom's strengths can exploit.

City's away games so far this season have seen them draw with Liverpool courtesy of a late gift from the Anfield back line, draw with Stoke, and require an 84th minute winner against Fulham and over all they have scored 5 and conceded 4 in their away matches so they are far from the
indestructible Champions their early backing suggests.

On the plus side they have created ample opportunities for themselves, they are at the top or close to it in all the key stats tables including shots, shots on traget and possession and it seems they may be on the brink of having the final pieces click in to place which will allow them snap out of first gear.

Our Prediction
If things go to form this will be a game dominated by City in most respects except for possibly one, the number of goals scored in the game. If West Brom keep using the scarce possession and chances they will have in this game with the deadly execution they have done so far this season then they have a far better chance of causing an upset than the stats and odds suggest.

Given City's inconsistent defensive line up and resulting performances we do think West Brom will score past them and may well frustrate their attack so we're backing West Brom to get at least a draw in a game where both sides will score.

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