West Brom have made a great start to their second season back in the Championship, losing only once in 11 games to rise to the top of the table.
New manager Slaven Bilic’s attractive style of play has proven very popular with fans, and there is the belief at The Hawthorns that his team have every chance of improving on last season’s fourth place finish.
Indeed, The Baggies have already scored 21 goals, with loan signings Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira causing opposition defences all sorts of problems, providing eight assists between them.
The Black Country side will go Middlesbrough tomorrow full of confidence, providing another tough test for a Boro side that have had a poor start to the season.
However, The Baggies have certainly not been perfect this season, and there are still areas of weakness to exploit for Jonathan Woodgate’s side.
Here, we look at two of them:
High risk play in defence
Bilic has brought in an extremely fluid style of play this season, building attacks from the back and in turn creating opportunities at the other end of the pitch.
However, sometimes a strength can turn into a weakness, and Bilic’s side have given some goals away when the defence have chosen to go short, rather than simply clear their lines.
They have only kept one clean sheet this season – against a ten-man QPR – and the defence is clearly capable of making a mistake.
Obviously the higher risk style is creating great chances at the other end of the pitch, so fans can accept one or two errors at the back.
However, West Brom have conceded 13 goals already, and Woodgate will no doubt be looking to pressurise The Baggies’ defence as they look to play their way out of danger.
Lacking in-form goalscorer
It seems a bizarre point to make for a team that has scored so many goals this season, but the Black Country side are still looking for their strikers to hit form.
Kenneth Zohore is yet to score from open play, notching just two penalties from four starts and five sub appearances, whereas Charlie Austin has scored only one goal from six starts and one sub appearance.
Diangana and Matt Phillips are the club’s top scorers this term with four goals each, and whilst both have had very good seasons, it will be tough to rely on these two as the main sources of goals all season.
Woodgate and his assistant Robbie Keane will hope to prey on the lack of confidence of The Baggies front men, by attempting to limit the amount of clear-cut chances they give away.