Meet the opposition | West Bromwich Albion

7th May 2023
First team
WBA celebration

As Swansea City prepare to host West Bromwich Albion on the final day of the season, we take a look at Monday's visitors.


What’s their story?

A photo of the 1885-86 West Brom team

Established in 1878 as West Bromwich Albion by workers from Salter’s Spring Works, the Baggies were one of the 12 founding members of the Football League.

They recently surpassed 5,000 football league fixtures as a club.

Albion have spent much of their history in the top-flight of English football, winning their only league title during the 1919-20 season, whilst enjoying success in the FA Cup on no less than five occasions.

During the 21st century they have had spells in the Premier League, including an eight-year stint which was ended by relegation in 2018.

Six managers in six seasons have followed and a return to the top-flight in 2020 proved short lived as they dropped back to the second tier after one season.

Last season saw the Baggies finish 10th in the Championship after the departure of manager Valerien Ismael midway through the season, and the introduction of Steve Bruce.

Bruce’s departed the club in October with the Baggies in 22nd. The appointment of Carlos Corberán saw them surge up the table to become play-off contenders.


How's their form?

West Brom celebration

Good. West Bromwich Albion are 11th in the form table, averaging more than a point a game to keep up with the promotion-chasing pack.

Their away record is good winning two of their last three games on their travels.


Who’s the gaffer?

Carlos Corberán WBA manager arriving at the ground

Carlos Corberán. Appointed in October with West Brom sat in the relegation zone, the Spaniard lost his opening match against Sheffield United before leading the Baggies to a remarkable run of nine wins in 10 league outings which put them sixth by the middle of January.

They have been firmly in the play-off picture since.

Corberán was a product of Valencia’s academy but, at the age of 23 - after failing to break into the first team and with only a handful of Spanish fourth-tier appearances under his belt - he hung up his boots in order to pursue a career in coaching.

He began as a highly-regarded fitness coach working with Villareal and Al-Ittihad Club before taking his first head coach role in Cyprus. He first moved to the UK in 2017 as the manager of Leeds United Under-23s and was promoted to the first-team staff by Marcelo Bielsa just over a year later.

After several seasons with Leeds, he took on the head coach role at Huddersfield Town. He spent two seasons there guiding the Terriers to the play-offs during his second term. He exited the Yorkshire club and took a short-lived role at Olympiacos before arriving at The Hawthorns.


Who’s the captain?

WBA Conor Townsend

Conor Townsend is likely to wear the armband on Monday. The Baggies’ left-back has been given the honour of leading out the team in recent weeks following a season-ending injury for Dara O’Shea.

Jake Livermore – who is club captain – has played just once in the league since November. He came on in the 89th minute in a victory over Norwich City at The Hawthorns last time out with his four-and-a-half year stay at the club set to end in the summer.

Hull City academy product Townsend joined the Baggies from Scunthorpe United in 2018 after two impressive seasons, during which time he helped the Irons reach the League One play-offs in consecutive campaigns.

Prior to arriving at Glanford Park, the now-30-year-old completed seven loan moves in four years from parent club Hull, failing to make an appearance for The Tigers during his five-year spell as a senior pro.

For West Brom, he’s been a consistent performer this term starting 41 of their 43 league fixtures, making appearances off the bench in the other two.

He’s chipped in with two goals this term, most notably, a 67th minute winner against Luton Town which saw the Baggies’ come from two goals down to take three points at Kenilworth Road.


Who are the key men?

Okay Yokuslu in West Brom kit

Influential defensive midfielder Okay Yokuslu made a welcome return against Sunderland in late April following an ankle injury which had left him sidelined. The Türkiye international is a key part of Corberán’s side anchoring the midfield. He has also chipped in with three goals.

Yokuslu has averaged a WhoScored rating of 7.12 in league matches this season, the highest of any West Brom player.

Another player with bags of Championship appearance is midfielder John Swift. The former Reading man has played 45 times for West Brom this season scoring seven goals and contributing nine assists. He is also the designated penalty taker showing a cool head at key times throughout the season.

Winger Jed Wallace has eight assists and five goals and is another key attacking outlet, while the Baggies top scorer this term is Brandon Thomas-Asante.

The Midlands outfit bought the striker from League Two Salford City and he scored on his debut in a 1-1 draw against Burnley. He’d already bagged five goals in seven games for the Ammies before making the switch to the second tier.  He’s scored nine goals in 32 appearance for West Brom.

West Brom have suffered a number of injuries to key figures in recent weeks. Captain Dara O’Shea, creative midfielder Daryl Dike, winger Grady Diangana and Nathaniel Chalobah have all missed out of the run in.