Alan Pardew struggling to get goals from West Brom
Alan Pardew’s West Bromwich Albion welcome Manchester United to the Hawthorns in Sunday’s Premier League clash.
The Midlands outfit are desperate to end their four-month wait for a league win, but until Pardew solves their woes in front of goal, Albion could continue sliding down the table.
Goalless in their last three league games, West Brom are the second-lowest scorers in the division this season. Their new manager certainly has his work cut out.
Rondon’s form has dipped drastically
Albion’s first-choice striker, Salomon Rondon has struggled in front of goal in 2017, netting only three times in the Premier League since December 2016. He has scored only 21 goals in 98 games since arriving from Zenit Saint-Petersburg in 2015. Pardew has a big decision whether to continue selecting the commanding centre-forward in the starting lineup.
From 16 Premier League games this campaign, Rondon has managed only two goals. He’s averaging just one shot every 53 minutes, hitting the target once per 177 minutes. The 28-year-old hasn’t managed to make the goalkeeper work in his last two appearances. He is also squandering possession and creating few chances for his teammates.
The Venezuelan international remains West Brom’s second-most expensive purchase, but he’s playing considerably below that level at the moment. He is fortunate the competition around him has also struggled with profligacy.
Chadli’s absence led to lack of creativity
Nacer Chadli, Albion’s record signing, has hardly featured this season. Having fallen out with former manager Tony Pulis, in addition to suffering a muscle injury, the midfielder has made only two Premier League appearances. The 28-year-old scored and created 10 goals in 27 league starts in his debut season with West Brom. However, he has since racked up just 161 minutes of playing time.
The Belgian international created 33 chances last campaign, better than two of his three seasons with Spurs. Pardew’s men are missing that creative influence.
Chadli's return later this month could help turn Albion’s fortunes around.
Pulis stripped away West Brom's attacking mentality
Pardew is known for encouraging his sides to attack, paying little attention to what happens at the other end. He will find it tough at Albion, though. During Pulis' 121 games in charge, West Brom scored only 144 goals (1.19-per-game).
It will take Pardew time to teach his players a contrasting style from the one ingrained in them for the last three years.
Albion have scored just 12 goals in 17 matches this season – 0.71-per-game. A rigid focus on defence and industry has stripped the side of attacking inspiration. No goals in their last three games tell its own story. Matt Phillips, Jay Rodriguez, Salomon Rondon and Hal Robson-Kanu sharing only seven goals between them in 3737 collective minutes is a major worry.
Facing Manchester United – a team with the best defensive record in the Premier League this season – means West Brom's goal shortage is likely to continue on Sunday afternoon.