West Brom Look to Continue to Give Tottenham Hotspur Fits

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 05: Tottenham v West Brom (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 05: Tottenham v West Brom (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) /
2 of 2
West Brom v Tottenham
West Bromwich Albion’s English midfielder Jake Livermore (C) (Photo credit should read GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images) /

West Brom Struggling for Points

While history says that this should be a tough match-up for Spurs, even when the Baggies are down, West Brom has been quite down this season. Their record over the last five games in League is the exact opposite of Tottenham’s. Whereas Spurs have won 3 and drawn two in their last five, Baggies have drawn three and lost two.

Those three draws – against Chelsea, Burnley, and Brighton – represent the three points West Brom have on the season. The Chelsea draw looks nice, but we must remember West Brom were actually up 3-3 at half-time and lost the lead, something Spurs know a thing or two about. Burnley and Brighton on the other hand have 8 combined points and sit in 19th and 16th place at current. In other words, those were not flattering results.

Adding in a loss to Southampton, which does not look that bad right now and a bad loss to otherwise winless and also newly promoted Fulham and you have a team that has struggled through a mostly easy part of their schedule. With that in mind, nothing could jumpstart the Baggies season like a win over Spurs, like they got last time Tottenham went to the Hawthorns. A win that could not save their last Premier League season but could breathe life into their current season and lift them out of relegation.

West Brom Form and Tactics

The Baggies have struggled mainly in two places this season, scoring goals, and conceding goals. Currently West Brom have scored the third fewest goals on the season, six, while conceding the second most 16. While Leeds United – also just promoted – has given up 17 goals, they have scored 14, for a difference of only -3. West Brom currently are tied for last in differential at -10.

This differential is really the result of a style where West Brom is hoping to bend but not break defensively. Built on an aggressive hard-tackling midfield – led by former Spurs Jake Livermore – West Brom are the kind of team that will dare you to break them down. All the while they will be sitting, waiting to hit you back on the counter, with both long balls and quick direct passing.

West Brom averages fewer passes per match than either Brighton or Burnley who Spurs have faced recently but plays just as direct with over 45% of all passes forward. Something HotspurHQ recently praised Harry Winks for doing and something West Brom does every match. Of course, those are different circumstances when there are a couple big defensive lines. Whether in a 4-5-1 or a 5-4-1, expect nine players to be behind midfield creating a double defensive block. Once the ball is won, then athletic Karlan Grant will be the likely target in attack.

The key for Tottenham will be getting between the lines in the midfield and working to find little spaces to attack. If Spurs can keep Grant bracketed and limit his touches to maintain possession in the attacking half of the pitch, it might be a long day for the Baggies. Ultimately, this is what we think will happen, as Hojbjerg and company prevent much breathing room and Tottenham suffocate West Brom coming out with a 4-0 win, just like in 2015.