THE guys over at statistics website WhoScored.com
have had a look at the numbers after Albion’s well-earned draw against derby rivals Villa last night.
After going two goals up only 11 minutes into the tie with the Villains, it may seem disappointing to have ultimately dropped two points, but there were plenty of positives to take.
Namely among them, is of course the increasingly impressive form of Shane Long.
The Republic of Ireland international netted two wonderful strikes to put the Baggies ahead, first superbly controlling Christ Brunt's inch-perfect chipped throughball and firing past a helpless Brad Guzan, and eight minutes later pouncing on an error from Leandro Bacuna.
The first showcased clever movement on the striker's part, fantastic vision of his team-mate, and technique to match from both players as Long plucked the ball out of the sky and put a powerful finish in the corner of the net.
The second was equally good as, even after anticipating Bacuna's wayward pass, Long had an awful lot to do, and exhibited unerring confidence to round Nathan Baker and finish with a deft chip from an increasingly acute angle.
Long now has three goals in his last two appearances - having netted Albion's first in the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge – and three in total in games against Villa.
While he obviously likes playing against the Claret and Blues, he is clearly starting to hit form and that could bode well with a busy winter schedule coming up.
He now averages a goal every 190 minutes of action in the Barclays Premier League this season, a rate that puts him up there with the best in the league.
What is more, his goals have come from only 13 shots, giving him a conversion rate of 23.1%.
To put that into context, only five of the 29 players with three or more Barclays Premier League goals this season can boast a better rate of goalscoring, and Long's rate is only marginally behind the league's top scorer Sergio Agüero (23.8%) - and is ahead of the likes of Luis Suárez (22.5%), Robin van Persie (21.2%) and Olivier Giroud (16.2%).
Brunt's assist for Long's first goal last night was his third in only four top-flight starts this season, meaning he has laid on a goal every 130.3 minutes, by some distance the best rate of players with at least five appearances so far.
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