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2019/20 Sky Bet Championship Guide: West Bromwich Albion

The Baggies are the penultimate side up in our preview of next season's second tier

18 June 2019

West Bromwich Albion 2018/19

League Position: 4th (Beaten Play-Off semi-finalists) (17/18 - 20th in Premier League - Relegated)

Average league attendance: 24,148 (17/18 24,520)

Top league goal-scorers: Dwight Gayle (23)

West Bromwich Albion's first season back in the second tier was certainly not dull with managerial comings and goings, scintillating attacking football, the league's highest win, and a Play-Off semi-final defeat on penalties to local rivals Aston Villa.

Under Club Legend Darren Moore, Albion started the season in sensational form, winning nine of their first 15 in all competitions, scoring 34 goals in the process. After a little wobble in October, Albion embarked on a run of 21 points from a possible 27 to sit third at New Year's.

However, a pivotal moment in their season came midway through January as Harvey Barnes, so impressive on loan from Leicester City, was recalled by his parent club. In his absence, Albion won just four of their next 12 to slip back from the top two. That run also cost Moore his job in mid-March, a decision which proved highly controversial amongst Albion fans and the wider football community. 

First-Team coach James Shan took caretaker charge and successfully guided Albion into the end of season Play-Offs with a run of six wins from ten to end the campaign. Following a 2-2 draw over two legs, Albion's rollercoaster season ended with a penalty shoutout defeat which consigned them to another year in the second tier. 

THE GROUND

The Hawthorns

Miles from Brentford: 127

Capacity: 26,850

Address: Birmingham Rd, West Bromwich, B71 4LF

Directions to The Hawthorns

THE MANAGER

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Slaven Bilić was announced as West Bromwich Albion's new manager last Thursday, tasked with returning The Baggies to the top flight. 

The Croatian defender began his career in 1988 with hometown club Hajduk Split, later having successful spells with Karlsruher SC, West Ham United and Everton. At international level, Bilić won 44 caps between 1992 and 1999, playing in Euro 1996 and the 1998 FIFA World Cup, helping the team to third place at the latter tournament.

Bilić returned to Hajduk in 1999 and retired two years later. Following a short spell in charge of the team during the 2001-02 season, Bilić coached the Croatian Under-21s before stepping up to the senior side in 2006. He led the team to the quarter-finals of the 2008 European Championship and left after the next edition four years later. Lokomotiv Moscow was next on his CV before he spent two years apiece managing Turkish club Beşiktaş and West Ham. A five month spell with Saudi side Al-Ittihad, which ended in February 2019 after just three wins in 15 games, preceeded his appointment at The Hawthorns last week.

THE KEY MAN

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Sam Johnstone: 2018/19 - 46 appearances, nine clean sheets

For a side so prolific in front of goal last season, it might seem strange to select a goalkeeper as Albion's key man, but Johnstone looks set to have a big role under Slaven Bilić next term. Despite conceding 62 times, Johnstone was comfortably top of the second tier's saves charts and put in a number of eye-catching performances. With Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez, who scored 45 league goals between them, attracting admiring glances from elsewhere, Albion will need to improve defensively if they don't have those goals to rely on. 

LAST TIME

HEAD TO HEAD

Brentford wins: 3

Draws: 3

West Brom wins: 12

Get ready for our upcoming campaign by supporting The Bees as a 2018/19 Season Ticket Holder. Secure your place online now.


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