Three things to look out for in new campaign as Albion kick-off again

·2-min read
Adam Webster scores from a corner against Espanyol. Picture Simon Dack
Adam Webster scores from a corner against Espanyol. Picture Simon Dack

Albion have been pretty good against Premier League big guns but not always put away the strugglers.

Last season, all 20 teams averaged more points per game against top-ten sides than they did against those from the bottom half. As you would expect.

But Albion’s differential was the narrowest in the Prem.

They averaged 1.3 points per game against other teams who finished in the top half and 1.35 versus sides from 11th place down.

Their record against top-half finishers was on a par with those of Chelsea and Manchester United – and better than West Ham.

Their record against the bottom half was comfortably worse than Leeds and not much better than the relegated sides.

In 2019-20, Albion took 20 points from 20 games against top-half teams, so exactly a point per game, and 21 from 18 against their fellow bottom-ten finishers, so 1.17 per game.

Again, not a huge difference. Contrast that to, for example, Liverpool last season with 1.9 points per game against the rest of the top half and a near-perfect 2.9 versus the bottom ten.

Or Leicester, with just 0.7 against the other top-half teams and 2.0 versus the bottom ten.

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Albion finished last season with 51 points.

Had games ended at half-time, they would have had only 44 points.

Had matches been judged solely on the second half, they would have had 54 points.

Be it fitness, be it tactical options, they fared better in the second 45 than the first.

That was something of a turnaround compared to 2020-21, when they were ninth on first-half points and 14th in the second, which somehow added up to 16th place in total.

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What does the number of corners won tell you?

Maybe a reflection of your team’s possession and territory.

Whatever it is, Albion had exactly 200 corners last season. Only five teams had more.

They scored from - among others - the very last, Danny Welbeck converting from Pascal Gross’s delivery.

Corners are generally viewed as an over-rated source of goals.

But teams ARE becoming more proficient from such situations.

Last season, 146 goals were scored from corners in the Prem, which was 12 more than in 2020-21 and the joint second-highest on record.

Adam Webster's header against Espanyol can only be a good sign.