Meet the opposition | West Brom
As Swansea City prepare to host West Brom this 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’s their form?
Strong. Despite a surprise defeat to relegation battlers Wigan last time out the Baggies continue to lead the way in the Championship.
They have won five of their last seven games, including impressive wins over Bristol City and Preston, drawing the other fixture against Nottingham Forest.
Very much in pole position for promotion with a six point gap to third-placed Fulham as the season enters its final run-in.
Who’s 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 18 goals, netting six goals and setting up a further dozen.
West Ham’s Grady Diangana has proved a shrewd loan signing, the pacy teenage winger he already weighed in with five goals and five assists from the flank, although he has had injury problems in recent weeks.
Hal Robson-Kanu has shown all his experience to lead the scoring charts with 10 goals, with summer signing Charlie Austin close behind with nine to his name and Matt Phillips weighing in with seven.
At the back Semi Ajayi has been enjoying an excellent campaign, while Romaine Sawyers has stood out in the Baggies midfield.