Menu

Preview: West Bromwich Albion v Blues

Blues travel to West Bromwich Albion in the Sky Bet Championship on Friday night.

The short trip across the West Midlands is the first of two successive away matches and marks the restarting of the second tier after the international break, during which Lee Bowyer and those players not representing their respective nations continued working hard at Wast Hills Training Ground.

Ahead of the campaign's recent pause, Blues had stumbled in meetings with Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest and will be eyeing up the game live on Sky Sports as the perfect opportunity to remind everyone of their capabilities.

When last selected for live broadcast, Blues swept aside Derby County and they know it will take a similar level of performance to leave with all three points at the start of the weekend.

West Brom have started the season strongly and currently occupy the second automatic promotion spot but lost away to Stoke City on their most recent outing. However, they do have the upper hand when it comes to history in this fixture and remain unbeaten to the visitors in the past eight clashes.

That being said, the last encounter at the Hawthorns saw Blues earn a very respectable point, as both sides returned to league action for the first time in 100 days after the season was suspended due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

THE OPPOSITION:

It is likely that anything less than promotion back to the top flight will be deemed an unsuccessful season for West Brom. Of the Championship's 24 teams, the Baggies would be best be described as the division's 'perennial yo-yo club', with a 13/8 split of seasons in/out of the Premier League since the turn of the century.

And the man charged with masterminding their latest return almost defied the odds to achieve such a feat last term with Barnsley, delivering their highest second tier finish since 2000. Valerien Ismael then switched to the Hawthorns in June, signing a four-year contract and becoming West Brom's first French manager.

He also moved quickly to bring Alex Mowatt with him from Yorkshire, with the midfielder having already found the net three times as he has started every league game for his new club. Goals have also come to the tune of four from Karlan Grant, who hit two in a late comeback against QPR during September, as well as three apiece from Callum Robinson and Matt Phillips.

At the other end, 'keeper Sam Johnstone has kept four clean sheets, one fewer than Blues' Matija Sarkic, and returns from England duty with an assist to his name in the Three Lions' victory over Andorra last Saturday.

LAST TIME OUT:

Blues were left scratching their heads as to how they ended up on the wrong end of a 0-3 scoreline against Nottingham Forest nearly a fortnight ago. Bowyer's men twice hit the same post in the first-half but found themselves down by two at the break, with Lewis Grabban and Ryan Yates striking for the Reds. Steve Cooper's side then added a third shortly after the interval through Djed Spence but were still fortunate to leave with a clean sheet, as Kristian Pedersen went close from two headers and Tahith Chong saw a free-kick beaten away.

West Brom let slip their unbeaten start to the 2021/22 Championship campaign as they were beaten by a single goal on the road at Stoke City. The Baggies rode their luck in the Potteries and twice had the woodwork to thank for keeping them at parity. Johnstone then saved a Sam Surridge penalty as it appeared they would escape the bet365 Stadium with a point, but Nick Powell's 79th-minute lob saw them leave empty-handed for the first time this season.

WE MEET AGAIN:

Blues 0-4 West Bromwich Albion, Saturday 31 July 2021

Blues were beaten at home by West Brom in their final pre-season friendly of the summer, but the scoreline was somewhat harsh after a particularly competitive opening 45. After the break, the Baggies opened the scoring through Grady Diangana, before efforts from Matt Clarke, Rayhaan Tulloch and Grant gave the visitors a scoreline that somewhat flattered them. But the long game was to be for Bowyer's men, as they delivered an opening weekend victory away to Sheffield United just seven days later.

HEAD TO HEAD:

Blues wins: 35

Draws: 38

West Brom wins: 60

LAST FIVE MEETINGS:

Championship 20 Jun 2020 - West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Blues 

Championship 14 Dec 2019 - Blues 2-3 West Bromwich Albion

Championship 29 Mar 2019 - West Bromwich Albion 3-2 Blues

Championship 14 Sep 2018 - Blues 1-1 West Bromwich Albion

FA Cup - 24 Jan 2015 - Blues 1-2 West Bromwich Albion

BLUESTV:

Supporters in the UK can watch this game live on Sky Sports Football, with coverage starting at 7pm.

Only viewers in selected countries will be able to watch our game against West Brom on BluesTV. There is no pay-per-view for this fixture. Further details are available here

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee - Jeremy Simpson

Assistant Referees - Daniel Leach and Andrew Fox

Fourth Official - Leigh Doughty

Share