Deadline day was unusually busy for West Brom, with the Baggies bringing in 4 players, as they look for some much needed inspiration following a poor start to the season. They have failed to score in their first 3 games and only picking up 1 point in the process.
The first two signings of deadline day were: French Midfielder Morgan Amalfitano on a season long loan from Marseille, whilst Lee Camp joined on a rolling monthly contract as cover for the injured Ben Foster. But it was the two signings made, late in the day, that caught the most attention, not least because it was the first time this window in which The Baggies spent money on players.
First to be confirmed was Stephane Sessegnon, who joined West Brom from Premier League rivals Sunderland for a club record fee in the region of £5.5 million.
Sessegnon’s passing statistics show that the attacking midfielder possesses some of the attributes that Albion have been lacking in the opening games of the season, with the most important of these being the number of passes that Sessegnon makes in the attacking zone and in the final third.
So far West Brom have struggled to break teams down, often lacking that final bit of accuracy with the killer pass or making the wrong choice. Sessegnon’s pass completion rates of 76% in the attacking zone and 78% in the final 3rd are very impressive, particularly with the volume of passes he makes in that area compared to other areas of the pitch.
Sessegnon’s success rate of 78% for passes in the final third is far superior to the success rate of Albion’s regular attacking players last season, with the highest being 74% shared by Claudio Yacob, Zoltan Gera, Youssuff Mulumbu and Peter Odemwingie.
These statistics show that although Sessegnon can play out wide, playing centrally is perhaps his best position considering his relatively low crossing accuracy. The number of successful dribbles he’s made is certainly an impressive figure, with it being far better than any of West Brom’s attackers from last season. In fact the highest attempted dribbles was by Romelu Lukaku, which was 59, the same as Sessegnon’s successful dribbles.
It is quite surprising that the number of chances and assists he has are quite low, but his high amount of dribbles seems to show a player who is more likely to fashion chances for himself rather than create them for teammates, which is shown by his shooting statistics.
Sessegnon’s 7 goals would have made him West Brom’s third top goalscorer last season and he would have been their highest-scoring midfielder. Sessegnon’s shot accuracy is also particularly impressive, with near enough half of shots hitting the target. A chance conversion of 16% is also more than acceptable, particularly for a midfield player, with Zoltan Gera being the only midfielder in Albion’s squad with a highest conversion rate.
This was the 2nd late deal that Albion managed to complete, bringing the Everton striker in for a fee that could rise to £6 million, depending on how he performs and how the add-ons are structured. Anichebe is a target man, a type of forward that Albion didn’t have on their books prior to this deadline day deal.
The amount of aerial duels won by a forward is a key attribute for a player being utilised as a target man and Anichebe has some impressive statistics in this area. Anichebe competed in 157 aerial duels, 5 more than Shane Long and 5 less than Romelu Lukaku. What is most impressive is the % of these duels that Anichebe won, having a success rate of 46% in these aerial duels compared to 41% for Long and 42% for Lukaku.
Another indicator of the ability of a target man is the amount of chances they create for their teammates. Anichebe’s 4 assists puts him on level terms with Long and Lukaku from last season, however he did manage to create more clear-cut chances than West Brom’s two main forwards from last season, creating 7 compared to the 4 both of these players created.
Of course the key stats for any striker are their goal-scoring ones, which is where Anichebe falls down somewhat. He managed 6 goals last season, which was two less than Long and 11 less than Lukaku. What is more worrying is 6 goals is Anichebe’s highest scoring Premier League season. He did, however, have a better shot accuracy than Long (47% compared to 45%), although a chance conversion rate of 13% is pretty poor.
Having said all that, I do believe that both Anichebe and Sessegnon will prove to be good additions for Albion. Whilst Anichebe may not provide the volume of goals that Lukaku did, his other attributes as a centre forward should allow West Brom’s other forward thinking players to flourish, including Sessegnon, who could prove to be one of the signings of the season if he can find some consistency.