West Brom return from the international break to face an in-form Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge this Easter weekend.
The Baggies are still living precariously in the relegation zone and, in reality, it will take a lot to salvage their Premier League status – but if they’re going to do so, then it must begin with a shock result here.
However, shoring up the defence has come at a price – they cannot find the net at the other end of the pitch, meaning that any chance of picking up enough points in the final nine games is looking like an arduous task.
Mbaye Diagne has made a positive impact since arriving in January, but one goal in eight starts is far from encouraging. However, that largely comes down to a lack of service, and as such, it’s time for Big Sam to turn to Grady Diangana to start from the off.
The last time these two sides met, they drew 3-3, and you’d imagine Albion would take that result once again.
During that game, Diangana was a nuisance on the left flank. As per SofaScore, he put in four tackles, provided two key passes and succeeded with 50% of his crossing attempts – this would be far better service to Diagne than what he has been getting.
Against Palace, Matty Phillips – the man who’s likely to make way for the 22-year-old – was hugely wasteful, completing just one of five crosses (20%) and managing only ten passes during his time on the pitch, via SofaScore.
Diangana has struggled to get into the starting XI since he returned from injury, but it was only last season that he provided eight goals and seven assists on West Brom’s way to promotion, and it’s on Big Sam to get that back out of him.
The £10.8m-rated dynamo has been described as “explosive” and a “total nightmare” to play against, so it certainly seems like one huge waste to leave him on the bench when the Baggies are fighting for their Premier League lives, not to mention the £18m fee paid for his services in the summer.
Phillips should not be starting games in the Premier League, as evident by his shocker against the Eagles, so the natural replacement has to be Diangana.
Allardyce would only be doing the Midlands outfit a disservice by not unleashing the tricky winger on Saturday afternoon.
AND in other news, West Brom can secure their next Mulumbu in £8.55m-rated powerhouse…