West Bromwich Albion Scouting Report: Team Observations | Tactical Analysis

West Bromwich Albion Scouting Report: Team Observations | Tactical Analysis


In this special weekly series of Scouting Reports of each Premier League team – this week Martin Lewis analyses West Bromwich Albion. They’re playing Tottenham this weekend so Spurs supporters will want to know all about their opponents – this is the best place to find out!

Please note that the style of writing is that of a scouting report.


All of the images you see will be from the excellent iPad app by Globall Coach. Check it out if you’re into tactical analysis yourself!

Team dynamics

West Brom - Team Dynamics

Offensive organisation

Team on ok run of results, looking to do the double over Tottenham. An off the field issue regarding Odemwingie could have a negative effect on the players, but also it could motivate players to take his place in the team.

  • Set up in a 4x2x3x1 with direct mentality.
  • Don’t look to play with initiative, look to use strikers mobility on counter attacks.
  • Fullbacks wide, central midfielders deep with well defined midfield triangle at first.
  • Wide players are tight, Long acting as second striker & Dorrans coming inside between lines. As the ball progresses up the pitch, Morrison shows outside movements to the right, to allow Long to become a second striker.
  • Be aware of constant switches of play and point of attack, until they can hold the ball with Dorrans on the right and look for Brunt on the edge of box coming from deep.
  • Early direct vertical balls from defenders, looking for wingers/striker looking for all into depth.
  • Low crosses to feet in box, late aggressive runs from deep with Lukaku & Long in the box. Inconsistency in Lukaku’s 1st ball layoffs, often a poor touch or loses concentration.
  • Ridgewell wide and progressive, Olsson progressive with space.
  • Good passing range from Brunt, movement in-between lines from Morrison & Dorrans, Long making diagonal runs using mobility to act as a second striker & gets beyond Lukaku.
  • Lukaku physically strong and athletic player. Press Jones/McAuley side more often with intensity. Be aware of their height on set plays.

Short build up – [2nd phase] ball is brought out of defence by fullbacks [usually Ridgewell] who has 2 options. Option one he looks for a central midfielder that is now deeper than him [Brunt usually] or he will look to play a vertical pass up the line. When ball is given to Brunt, he will look for vertical option to Lukaku initially, but if that isn’t on he will play a diagonal over to Jones moving forward to switch play.

Long build up – [1st phase] ball played to the head of Lukaku, looking for flick on or lay off. Defensive line and midfield push very high up and are tight in order to win the second ball.


Long buildup – 1st phase

West Brom - Long Build Up - 1st Phase

Short build up – 2nd phase

West Brom - Short Build Up - 2nd Phase

Defensive organisation

  • Defend 4x4x2low-medium block, compact and use zonal marking.
  • Team and lines get progressively deeper and tighter the higher the opponent progress with the ball.
  • No immediate pressure on the ball, look to wait to use numerical superiority in the middle of the pitch, where they are very aggressive in their pressing [fouls!].
  • Look to force attack on outside & play wingers high to allow them to quickly exploit depth in wide areas when in attacking transition.
  • This leaves lateral space next to the central midfielders.
  • Space between lines when ball is around the halfway line, also lots of space door long diagonals to switch point of attack.
  • Very tight, midfield triangle switches the point from deep to high, wingers high and tight. Lateral space next to central midfielders and fullbacks.
  • Kill with quick switches of play. Look to block.
  • Centre back very tight, don’t allow the striker to turn.
  • Look to take Jones on 1v1.
  • When the tip of the midfield triangle is pressing, often the will press then if the ball goes past them they will stay high.
  • Pressure on the ball when it gets into midfield and defensive areas.
  • Extremely vulnerable when one centre back is drawn out of position (Olsson usually) due to the lack of mobility from McAuley.
  • Jones gets too tight & high when pressing and space then behind him to attack 1v1. Slow recovery speed, then look for the pull back to the D.
  • Allow short option from goalkeeper, look to be compact and wait for the opportunity to win ball [interceptions or quick, aggressive pressure when ball is played into midfield] and then kill in transition, using their athletic players upfront running into depth for 1st time killer ball.
  • If the oppositions centre back progresses with ball deep into midfield, the 3 in the middle can become flat, leaving a lot of space between lines, with low pressure on the ball.
  • When the player then receives the ball in space and runs at defenders, they will drop with good alignment: fullbacks above centre backs, one centre back will look to close ball down just before he gets to the edge of the box [usually Olsson] and the other centre back will drop deep to cover the space behind.
  • Important that strikers look to run into the space behind the fullbacks.

Team starting low-medium block, progressing backwards to a tight low compact block.

Team now more compact, but still lateral space.

West Brom Compact but still lateral space


Attacking transitions

  • Quick and aggressive change in attitude looking to use forwards mobility in 1v1 capacity.
  • Good density in support (2-1 players). Most when ball is won in the middle of the pitch by a central midfielder with quick play to exploit space or run with ball.
  • If they can’t find the pass when close to the area and the counter is delayed they will look for a horizontal pass around the edge of the area to the well timed supportive players, with great capacity to score with long shots.
  • Important to close down their space to stop the shot and be aware of second ball in the box!
  • Poor consistency in transitions from deep [when deep into their own box], often leading to loss of possession.
  • Quick and direct attitude (fullbacks progress with ball) and look for long ball to depth.
  • Quick throws or kicks from the goalkeeper looking for quick transitions, especially on corners.

Defensive transitions

  • Very tight and aggressive towards balls into feet of striker.
  • Slow at coming out of box from corners, look for quick 1st time ball back in.
  • Press quickly initially if high up the field (aggressive, fouls!!), a lot of space to expose between lines and of both wings.
  • Poor recovery speeds from both fullbacks.
  • Use quick diagonals over fullbacks to exploit mobility.

Diagonal BallSet plays

Attacking corners

Two hands up on corner means Olsson spinning to 2nd post. Corners taken by Brunt [left foot].

West Brom - Corner (Two Hands Up)

Defensive corners

Defensive Corners


Offensive free kicks

Offensive Free Kicks


Defensive free kicks

Defensive Free Kick

West Bromwich Albion Pattern, combination play and areas to exploit

Midfield combination

West Bromwich Albion - Midfield Combination

Exploiting Yacobs mobility

Exploiting Yacob's mobility

Jones 1v1 then pulling back the cross

Jones 1v1 - pulling them across


Kick off combination

Kick off Combination

Page 2: Other Observations – West Bromwich Season Stats for 2012/13 (click Page 2 below).