West Brom will be looking to build on their recent form this weekend when they host relegation rivals Brighton at the Hawthorns.
Sam Allardyce’s men are finally starting to put up a fight, and the 66-year-old has somewhat alleviated their defensive issues in recent games too.
The Baggies have recorded back-to-back draws, against Man Utd and Burnley, conceding just once across both outings – even with ten men in the latter encounter.
Big Sam must now find a way to start putting the ball in the back of the net, something he won’t be able to do with Matty Phillips starting…
The 29-year-0ld Scotsman has been trusted by the Albion boss numerous times this season and his relentless faith in the veteran was most displayed when he took the armband in the absence of Jake Livermore.
However, Phillips offers very little threat in the Premier League. He has provided only one goal and one assist all campaign and sits amongst the five worst players for average WhoScored rating (6.24) this campaign.
Valued at £5m by Transfermarkt, the right-winger has seen his output regress substantially with the step-up in quality. In the Championship, Phillips had averaged 1.6 shots and 1.4 key passes, while delivering seven goals and six assists on their way to promotion.
These figures have tailed off, as he’s now managing just 0.5 shots and 0.7 key passes per outing in the big time, via WhoScored.
Eight other players are managing to fire off more attempts at goal, including right-back Darnell Furlong (0.7), whilst there are also three other players who are more creative, including outcast winger Kamil Grosicki (one).
The £18m summer arrival could complete a dream-looking attack alongside Matheus Pereira and Mbaye Diagne, having Phillips in there instead just doesn’t carry the same threat, as evident by his returns this term.
It would be another ruthless decision after Allardyce hooked him just half an hour at the weekend in response to Semi Ajayi’s sending off, but now that Diangana is back, he has no place in the starting lineup anymore.