Meet the opposition | West Bromwich Albion

27th February 2022
First team

With final preparations under way ahead of Swansea City’s trip to West Bromwich Albion, we take a closer look at the Baggies.

What’s their story?

The West Midlands team were formed in 1878 under the name West Bromwich Strollers but took the name Albion two years later. In 1888 they became one of the 12 founding members of the Football League and have spent most of their 144-year history in the top flight.

They have won the league title just once (1919-1920), but cup success has been easier to come by with the Baggies winning the FA Cup five times.

This is their first season back in the Championship following their relegation after a solitary season in the Premier League in 2021.

Their previous top-flight stint had taken in a run of eight consecutive seasons.

How’s their form?

Jamie Paterson West Brom home 3

Not good. With seven defeats, one win and two draws in their past 10 games, only Peterborough United have picked up fewer points in this period.

The Baggies have found goals hard to come in the league since the start of 2022. They have scored just five, with three of these coming in their solitary win against the Posh.

Another of these goals came when they took the lead against in-form Middlesbrough in midweek but second-half goals from Marcus Tavernier and Patrick McNair condemned West Brom to a fourth defeat in five.

Despite this, an excellent start to the campaign, which saw them remain unbeaten in the league until October and top the table for a spell, means they sit in 11th and are still within reach of the play-off places.

Who’s the boss?

West Brom Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce. The former centre-back and England international was unveiled as the Baggies new manager on February 3 following the dismissal of Valerian Ismael after seven months and 10 days in charge.

Bruce has picked up one point in four matches, with that coming courtesy of a 0-0 draw at home against Blackburn Rovers.

As a player, the 61-year-old made more than 700 career appearances with the majority of these coming for Manchester United, but he also spent time at West Brom’s West Midlands rivals Birmingham City, a club he also went on to manage.

His first foray into management was 24 years ago as a player-manager for Sheffield United, but he has also taken charge of Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Aston Villa and most recently Newcastle United before his appointment at West Brom.

Who’s the captain?

West Brom Kyle Bartley

Jake Livermore. The Liverpool-born midfielder is closing in on 200 appearances for West Brom and – after being sidelined by Sam Allardyce - became a key figure again under previous manager Valerian.

He is a combative presence and he’s seen red twice this season. He is currently serving a ban for a lunging challenge on Conor Hourihane in a 2-0 defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Former Swansea man Kyle Bartley is most likely to wear the armband in his absence on Monday. After coming through the ranks at Bolton Wanderers, he signed for Arsenal and made up part of the 2009 FA Youth Cup winning team.

He made his senior Gunners debut in the Champions League and spent time at the Blades and Scottish giants Rangers before his arrival in South Wales in 2012.

He made just a handful of appearances for the Swans spending time on loan at Birmingham and Leeds United before making the switch to Albion in 2018. Bartley has since played more than 120 games for the West Midlands club.

Who are the key men?

West Brom Alex Mowatt

Striker Karlan Grant is top scorer for West Brom with 10 goals to his name, and has also chipped in with five assists as he has bounced back impressively after missing much of last season through injury.

His previous campaign in the Championship had seen Grant bag 19 goals for Huddersfield Town, and he had 18 goals for Charlton in League One in the season prior to that.

Republic of Ireland international Callum Robinson is another attacking threat. He’s registered eight assists and six goals so far this season in 32 appearances.

Midfielder Alex Mowatt pulls the strings creating an average of 1.52 chances per 90 minutes with 38 chances in 25 appearances. Mowatt has also chipped in with three goals from the middle of the park.