Superior Slav: WBA outperforming Gayle and co so far this season – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

West Brom return from the international break in possession of the Championship lead after 11 matches.

Only one side has overcome them all season in the form of Leeds United and their 1-0 victory was debatable as Slaven Bilic’s men launched an onslaught to no avail – recording over 70% possession for the final half an hour of the match.

The defeat clearly didn’t affect them at all as just a few days later, the Baggies smashed Cardiff City 4-2 to get back on track.

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At one stage early in the campaign, it looked like the west Midlands club were rueing the lack of firepower considering Dwight Gayle returned to his parent club, Newcastle United, and Salomon Rondon was sold to China.

Fans have blasted £8m man Kenneth Zohore while Charlie Austin has managed just the one league goal, but despite this, they appear to be doing much better than last season’s goal-laden exploits.

On the Chalkboard

Under Darren Moore, particularly early on, Albion would score goals for fun – even when playing quite poorly.

Loan man Gayle netted 24 goals in 40 league appearances, Jay Rodriguez bagged 22 and provided six assists on top of that, and before he was recalled, Harvey Barnes contributed with nine goals and six assists, all per WhoScored.

In 46 matches last season, West Brom managed to score 87 goals, which means they averaged 1.89 per game with only champions Norwich City managing more.

Currently, Bilic’s side have netted 21 goals from just 11 matches, edging them slightly higher at an average of 1.91 goals per game.

They’ve also been able to share out the majority of the goals throughout the side with every outfield ‘regular’ getting their name on the scoresheet at least once this season.

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Should they stay on track at this rate, the goals should steer them to a better position in the league than fourth, and quite even possibly to the title as the Canaries earned promotion with a goal per game ratio of 2.02, which Albion aren’t far off matching themselves.

The Croatian chief will just have to hope he keeps hold of joint-top goalscorer Grady Diangana, who has netted four goals this season and that the likes of Matheus Pereira and Matt Phillips can keep up their rich vein of form around the penalty box.

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