AFTER the disappointment of last weekend, Albion will be looking to get back to winning ways and the guys over at WhoScored.com have taken a look at the key stats ahead of Saturday’s clash with Crystal Palace (ko 3pm).
The Baggies' unbeaten run ended at six games with defeat at Anfield last week but at home to a Crystal Palace side in transition, after recently parting ways with Ian Holloway, Albion should be confident that their myriad of talented attacking players will have the quality to obtain victory.
Only Sunderland (21) have conceded more goals in the Barclays Premier League than the Eagles (19), who have not picked up a single point on the road this season, losing each of their four away games. They have also lost each of their last six matches at home or away, leaving them rock bottom of the table. A trip to The Hawthorns, where Albion recently trounced Sunderland 3-0 and drew with table-toppers Arsenal, will look rather ominous for this weekend's visitors.
They are without a clean sheet all season, and shutting out opponents has been a real issue. While Mile Jedinak has been impressive in front of the back four, picking up an average WhoScored.com rating of 7.45 across the season so far. Jedinak has made it difficult for players to get shots away by nipping attacks in the bud at an early stage, but once he has been passed, the likes of Gabbidon and Delaney have struggled to keep teams out.
This weekend, it will be the job of Stéphane Sessegnon to outwit Jedinak and find Nicolas Anelka in dangerous areas in and around the penalty box. Sessegnon has been key to Albion's impressive form since moving to the Midlands, and will hope to wriggle from the grasp of his opponent with his outstanding rate of 3.2 successful dribbles per game, a tally that only two players with at least five appearances this season can top in the whole of the Premier League (Andros Townsend and Ross Barkley). With Jedinak averaging 4.3 tackles per game, Sessegnon could have his work cut out, but in helping the Baggies to such a fantastic win at Old Trafford recently, amongst other good recent results, the Benin international has proved he is clever enough to outsmart some of the league's top defenders.
He has also been fouled an average of 3.2 times per game this season - the second most in the Premier League - while Jedinak has committed 1.3 fouls per game, so dirty tactics could well come into play as Palace seek any method possible to stop Sessegnon working his magic.
Given that Palace are also the joint-lowest-scoring side in the Premier League with only six goals, Steve Clarke's side will be hoping that they can concentrate on attacking this weekend. That will mean the battle between Sessegnon and Jedinak is a key one, and with the tricky attacking midfielder in fine fettle at present, he could well come out on top.
*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.
All-time results record (League, FA Cup and League Cup)
Palace were relegated alongside Norwich and Southampton as Albion pulled off The Great Escape in 2005. All four teams are now been back in the Barclays Premier League for the first time since.
Darren Moore and Lloyd Dyer were on the scoresheet when the Baggies last beat Palace at The Hawthorns back in March 2004.
Moore was also on target two years earlier as Albion clinched their first-ever promotion to the Barclays Premier League with a 2-0 home victory over the Eagles - with Bob Taylor grabbing the second.
Last time out
HOME: Championship, Monday, September 26, 2009, Albion 0 Crystal Palace 1 (N'Diaye 63)
AWAY: Championship, Saturday, April 26, 2010, Crystal Palace 1 (Reid og 17) Albion 1 (Tamas 21)
Form guide (last six league matches)
Last league match line-ups
ALBION (v Liverpool – away L 4-1): Myhill; Jones, McAuley, Olsson (c), Ridgewell; Yacob (Brunt 68), Mulumbu; Amalfitano (Morrison 44), Sessegnon, Anichebe; Anelka (Long 68). Subs not used: Daniels (gk), Lugano, Vydra, Berahino.
CRYSTAL PALACE (v Arsenal - home L 0-2): Speroni; Ward, Delaney, Gabbidon, Moxey, Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Bannan (Gayle 77), Thomas (Bolasie 57), Guedioura (Kebe 71), Chamakh. Subs not used: Price, Mariappa, O'Keefe, Puncheon.
Palace team news
More to follow.
Neil Swarbrick will referee Saturday’s game. The Lancashire official last oversaw Albion in last November's 2-1 victory at Wigan. Mason has dished out one red and 23 yellow cards in eight games this term.
Selected odds from Sky Bet:
Albion to win: 8/15
Palace to win: 5/1
Stephane Sessegnon to score first: 6/1
Marouane Chamakh to score first: 12/1
Tickets for this game sold out on Wednesday.
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