Stats Back Brunt For Defensive Role

Former captain Chris Brunt had already proved his flexibility when manager Tony Pulis asked him to fill in at left back for the home match against Swansea in February. The 30-year-old has played in a number of midfield positions this term, from his usual attacking role on the left hand side to defensive central midfield and out on the right, but may well have a found a new position at full back.

The Northern Ireland international has grown into the role making nine appearances in the back four and was many pundits man of the match in the last two games at Crystal Palace and against Liverpool at the Hawthorns.  The team kept clean sheets in both games and Chris’ contributions twice earned him a place in Europe’s team of the week based on Opta stats.

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Defensive duties may not have been at the fore of his mind when playing almost 250 games in midfield for Albion but the Baggies’ stalwart has learnt to adapt to defensive duties as can be seen from the stats in the last two games.

He was in the thick of the action to keep out Liverpool in the 0-0 draw on Saturday when making four tackles, six interceptions and seven clearances. Against Palace, Chris made five tackles, four interceptions and nine clearances in a match winning performance where he provided the assists for James Morrison and Craig Gardener’s goals taking him to eight assists for the season.

The Ulsterman is one of the Premier League’s top players for goal assists. His season tally is only bettered by Cesc Fabregas (16), Angel Di Maria (10), Gylfi Sigurdsson(10) and Leighton Baines (9). His set piece deliveries have been most productive, producing five goals so far this season, only bettered by Cesc Fabregas in the Premier League who has six, and his crossing from wide positions has also been effective since moving to left back.

With three assists from nine appearances at left back, the switch has not thwarted his attacking threat so could Chris Brunt be the permanent answer for the left side defensive position, what do Baggies fans think?

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