Meet the opposition | West Brom
As Swansea City prepare to take on West Brom at the Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon, we take a closer look at the Baggies.
What’s their story?
After spending eight consecutive seasons in the Premier League, West Brom finished at the bottom of the table and were relegated alongside Swansea and Stoke City at the end of the 2017-18 season.
Their best finish in the Premier League came in 2012-13, a hat-trick from Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku securing a point and eighth place finish after a remarkable 5-5 draw with Manchester United in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game as Red Devils boss.
West Brom came fourth in the Championship last season, but couldn’t quite grasp the last promotion ticket as a result of a dramatic loss against local rivals Aston Villa in a play-off semi-final penalty shoot-out.
The Baggies won their only top-tier title in 1920, and have five FA cups in their trophy cabinet. Their most recent trophy triumph came via a victory against Everton in the FA Cup Final at Wembley in 1968.
How is their form?
Outstanding. The Croatian Slaven Bilic has made an immediate impact upon his arrival in the West Midlands.
The men from the Hawthorns are among the leading contenders for promotion this season, having lost only one game out of 19 so far in the campaign.
Their sole defeat came away from home against Leeds United due to an unlucky own goal from former Swansea defender Kyle Bartley.
The Baggies have scored 36 goals in total, which makes them the highest scoring team in the division, and they are unbeaten on home turf with a record of five wins and four draws.
Who is the boss?
Slaven Bilic. Following a playing career that ended in 2001 at Hajduk Split - following spells with Everton and West Ham - the Croatian took over his boyhood club as an interim manager in the second half of the 2001-02 season.
Later he managed the Croatian Under-21 team before taking over the senior national side. He led the team to the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 and left after the next edition of the tournament four years later.
He had a stint with Russian side Lomotiv Moscow, before he spent two years apiece managing the Turkish giants Besiktas and West Ham United.
After a run of poor results in the beginning of 2017-18, he left Hammers with a record of 1.33 points per Premier League game, which is the best of any previous West Ham manager.
In September 2018, Bilic signed with Al-Ittihad of the Saudi Professional League but left the club after five months of being in charge and took over at West Brom in the summer.
Who are the key men?
The 23-year-old Brazilian left-footed right-winger Matheus Pereira has been excellent, contributing directly to 14 goals, netting four goals and setting up a further 10.
West Ham’s Grady Diangana has proved a shrewd loan signing, the pacy teenage winger he already weighed in with four goals and six assists from the flank.
Scottish winger Matt Philips is top scorer for the Baggies with six goals, while former Wales international Hal Robson-Kanu has been in good recent form with five goals in his last eight appearances.
Summer signing Charlie Austin, meanwhile, has settled quickly with five goals in all competitions, including the winner from the penalty spot last time out against Preston.
At the back Semi Ajayi has been enjoying an excellent campaign, while Romaine Sawyers has stood out in the Baggies midfield.