West Brom have finally started to turn things around, even if it is a little too late, with two draws and one victory.
In the process, the Premier League’s leakiest defence has only conceded one goal and that was to second-placed Manchester United, who the Baggies ended up securing a point against – and even then, it could have been better.
However, with Albion boss Sam Allardyce stopping the rot defensively, it has come at a grave consequence as Brazilian midfielder Matheus Pereira has struggled to make much of an impact further up the pitch.
The 24-year-old playmaker is now suffering big time…
According to WhoScored, the Midlands outfit are averaging 7.7 shots per game this season, and in two of the aforementioned trio of matches, they have failed to surpass a total of seven attempts.
The only time they did, Pereira racked up six shots on his own but still failed to score.
The £11.7m-rated dynamo has seen his defending figures increase over the last few matches, seeing five tackles with a season-high three in the game against Burnley but in terms of creativity, it’s decreased.
Pereria has only managed to provide more than two key passes once since November, where he delivered a whopping nine against relegation rivals Sheffield United.
Similarly, the attacking maestro has manged a rating above 7.0 just once in his last five outings, via WhoScored.
Two weeks ago, Allardyce revealed that the Baggies needed eight clean sheets in 13 matches to have a shot at clinching survival in the big time, but in doing so, they have suffered in front of goal.
Pereira has often been shifted out wide as the signing of defensive anchorman Okay Yokuslu has brought about a new system that sees Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Conor Gallagher at the tip of a three-man midfield, leaving the enigma to play out wide.
His poorest returns have come out on the wing, providing only five goals and eight assists, compared to eight goals and 13 assists when deployed in the no.10 role, as per Transfermarkt.
This is a player once lauded as a “genius” by former Nurnburg coach Nate Weiss and considering he’s among the highest-earners on a reported £30k-per-week at the Hawthorns, he must be utilised to great effect.
Yes, Albion needed to stop leaking goals (they have conceded 11 more than any other PL side) but they will not pick up points unless they find the back of the net – only two teams have scored fewer.
Getting Pereira back to his best through the middle is clearly the way, otherwise, Allardyce risks ruining one of their better players.
AND in other news, West Brom’s “dynamic” £15k-p/w gem has been Moore’s finest parting gift…