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West Brom’s game against Cardiff may boil down to Matheus Pereira

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?

On the Chalkboard

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.

The 28-year-old scored one of the three goals, made one tackle, and won four aerial duels as he picked up a season-high WhoScored rating of 8.21.

His opposite number this weekend will be Albion’s new creative number ten, Matheus Pereira.

The young winger is quite the enigmatic figure, but he’s been influential to Slaven Bilic this season, having scored one goal and provided three assists.

He’s a completely different player to that of Pack as he averages 1.3 dribbles and 2.4 key passes per game.

By contrast, the former Bristol City ace plays as many as 5.5 long balls per game and does more defensive work, recording 1.3 clearances and interceptions per match.

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.

Article title: West Brom’s game against Cardiff may boil down to Matheus Pereira

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