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Stat attack: Albion think outside box

PUBLISHED

17:00 17th March 2014

WhoScored.com highlight some impressive facts and figures for Mel's men

THE first win for Pepe Mel as Baggies head coach has been analysed by the guys at football statistics website WhoScored.com.

Albion came from behind to claim a vital three points in the survival race, again showing incredible strength of character, refusing to lie down despite conceding in the first half once again. 

The Spaniard has instilled a fighting attitude in his team, and the players never looked like giving up at the Liberty Stadium.

Prior to the game, WhoScored had highlighted a tendency on the Swans' part to concede early goals - no Premier League team has shipped more goals in the opening ten minutes of matches than them this season - but it was they, in fact, who started the quicker of the two teams, and took a lead into the half-time break.

It was a familiar position for Albion, though, who came out reinvigorated after a chat with the boss, and the second half was an entirely different story. 

It only took the Baggies six minutes to draw level through Stéphane Sessegnon and that left enough time for them to go on and wrap up the victory.

Albion have now gone behind in seven of their eight matches under Mel but have come away with a positive result in five out of eight games, despite six of them coming against teams in the top half of the table. 

And since the former Real Betis manager took charge, Albion have gained an impressive seven points from losing positions, each of which will be vital come May.

This latest result could easily be the most important, with only one point separating the teams from 14th to 17th. 

It was a different looking Baggies formation at the weekend.

Playing with wing-backs in a five-man defence - Steven Reid and Liam Ridgewell provided the width - with a compact midfield three of Youssouf Mulumbu, Graham Dorrans and James Morrison preventing Swansea from creating much through the middle. 

Mulumbu won the WhoScored.com man of the match award with a rating of 8.3, breaking up play with astounding consistency, but also proving a threat going forwards, providing a driving force in midfield and eventually scoring the winner.

That came from a beautifully placed shot from outside the area, and with 77 per cent of Albion's shots coming from outside the area that was their main threat. 

The quality in Mel's squad means the players can do just that; Sessegnon had earlier netted a stunner from distance and Michel Vorm had equally little chance with either of the visitors' goals. 

Just 42 per cent of Albion's shots have come from outside the area this season, so there is an argument the players should take aim from range more often.

The change in system might have taken a little time to become accustomed to, but Albion were flying when they found their feet.

Three points gained and a huge confidence boost made for a great weekend for Mel's Baggies.

*WhoScored.com is a unique website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Provided with unique stats, they compile and create comprehensive analysis on the major European divisions, including live match stats and player ratings. Follow @WhoScored and their editor-in-chief @alitweedale on Twitter.

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