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’s impressive start to life under Slaven Bilic finally came to an end in midweek as Leeds United defeated them 1-0 at Elland Road.
It meant that a run of nine straight games without defeat was halted, so they’ll be looking to get back on track as they welcome Cardiff City to the Hawthorns on Saturday.
The Bluebirds are on an excellent run themselves as they head into the match having not lost in seven straight games.
Therefore, by no means are the Baggies in for an easy test as they look to get back on track, so where could the game be won or lost this weekend?
One of Cardiff’s best players this term has been summer arrival Marlon Pack, who has become a backbone in Neil Warnock’s side. That’s coincided with their unbeaten streak.
He faced some time out through injury, but he has come back into the side and played the full 90 minutes in back-to-back games, culminating in his best performance of the season on Tuesday night as the Welsh side emphatically defeated Queens Park Rangers 3-0.
His opposite number this weekend will be Albion’s new creative number ten, Matheus Pereira.
This weekend’s game could really be won or lost depending on how Pereira plays.
If he is utilised centrally as he has been since making his first full start against Blackburn Rovers at the end of August, it could well work out in Bilic’s favour.
This time they’ll need him firing on all cylinders after failing to score or assist against Leeds. His threat was nullified that time out so Pereira will have to bounce back.