Numbers support decision to bring midfielder back in at West Brom

Tony Pulis admits to being a fan of Claudio Yacob and statistics support his decision to bring the midfielder back into West Bromwich Albion's starting XI.

It has not been the happiest of seasons for Claudio Yacob at West Bromwich Albion, but Tony Pulis has been discussing the midfielder in the Birmingham Mail and admitted that the 27-year-old is a big part of his plans.

Yacob found himself on the fringes of the fold under Pulis’s predecessor Alan Irvine.

He was handed just one Premier League start, and that outing saw him dismissed during a meeting with Chelsea.

The likes of Chris Brunt, Graham Dorrans, James Morrison, Craig Gardner and Youssouf Mulumbu have seen more minutes than the Argentine, but that situation may be about to change.

Pulis said in the Birmingham Mail: “Before I came here, when I was at other clubs, Claudio was always a player I rated highly

“I have always thought he does a good job for the team and since I have come here his attitude around the place has been absolutely top drawer.

“He does things in midfield that maybe supporters don’t always see and what he does isn’t always glamorous, but he does a good job for the team and I was really pleased with him against Hull.”

Opta statistics support the decision to bring Yacob back into the starting XI, with his numbers over the course of the last two-and-a-half seasons making for impressive reading.

  Total TackleWon TackleDuel WonInterceptionTouchesAppearancesMins Played
Claudio Yacob 213 175 346 95 2,967 63 4,486
Craig Gardner 191 148 339 108 3,590 70 5,165
Youssuf Mulumbu 184 145 427 179 5,187 77 6,318
James Morrison 174 129 332 101 4,653 84 6,396
Chris Brunt 131 99 253 117 4,155 77 5,877
Graham Dorrans 87 64 181 64 2,840 59 4,439

Yacob will help to add bite to the Baggies midfield, a quality they will need if they are to steer a course to safety.

Keeping things tight in the middle of the park will also help to ease pressure on the defensive unit while freeing the likes of Saido Berahino to express themselves in the final third.

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