Talking Tactics | West Bromwich Albion vs Swansea City
After drawing with Birmingham City on the opening weekend, Swansea City get on the road for their first away trip of the season to face a West Bromwich Albion side that were beaten by Blackburn Rovers in their first game in the 2023-24 Championship campaign.
Ahead of the action, WhoScored.com preview the league clash, taking a look at what to expect from the Baggies, the key battle and a key stat.
What to expect from West Brom
Last season West Brom fell just short of the play-offs with a ninth place finish and a total of 66 points, their highest finish since they returned to the Championship following their relegation from the Premier League back in the 2020-21 campaign.
Throughout the transfer window so far, West Brom have welcomed Josh Maja and Jeremy Sarmiento, who has joined on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion.
They have also had a handful of departures to deal with including the likes of Jake Livermore who has made the move to Championship Watford, David Button who has joined Reading in League One and Dara O’Shea who will be plying his trade for Premier League Burnley this season.
The hosts have been on the receiving end of 2-1 defeats in both of their games since the season started, losing to Blackburn Rovers in the Championship and Stoke City in the EFL Carabao Cup.
According to the WhoScored.com strengths and weaknesses of the hosts, you can expect West Brom to look to hit Swansea on the counter attack as well as attacking down the left and whipping crosses in abundance.
The WhoScored.com calculated strengths and weaknesses for these two sides suggest that West Brom will dominate in the air against Swansea. Last season, Swansea averaged the lowest aerial wins per game at just 10.2, whilst the hosts averaged more than double with a total of 21 per game.
This was demonstrated in the last match up between these two sides with West Bromwich totaling 24 aerial wins against the Swans, with Swansea only winning five aerial battles.
These two sides do not shy away from attempts at goal and they both ranked highly last season for average shots per game, with the Baggies averaging 13.3, ever so slightly higher than Swansea's 13. We can expect a lot of attempts at goal which should make for an exciting fixture.
In Swansea’s opening fixture against Birmingham they demonstrated their intent with 11 shots. Yet, it was Jerry Yates’ 76th minute goal that saw his side claw the fixture back to 1-1. Having signed from Blackpool he’s looked a promising purchase and was Swansea’s second-highest rated player against Birmingham with a WhoScored.com rating of 6.89, only beaten by Joel Piroe (7.02).
He is likely to be coming up against Semi Ajayi and Cedric Kipre in this fixture and they will have a job on their hands to keep Yates quiet. WhoScored.com’s strengths and weaknesses indicators show West Brom were vulnerable to individual errors last term, and the Swans will want to make full use of any opportunities should there be any slip-ups.
Interestingly, in the Championship last season, both sides ranked lowly for fouls per game with only Cardiff (9.6) and Bristol City (9.6) giving away fewer fouls than West Brom (9.7). Swansea were not too far ahead with an average of 10 fouls conceded per game.
Both sides proved last season that they know where the goal is. Only three sides found the back of the net more times than Swansea (68) last season. West Brom weren’t too far behind with 59 goals in the campaign and if both sides can continue that rate into this season then we could be in for a cracker here.