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Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Swansea City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews West Bromwich Albion's meeting with Swansea City in the Championship, including a prediction, team news and predicted lineups.

West Bromwich Albion will look to cement their place at the top of the Championship when they meet Swansea City at the Hawthorns on Sunday.

Slaven Bilic's side are top scorers in the division and find themselves sitting two points above Leeds United, while Swansea are just one point off the playoff spots.


Match preview

Slaven Bilic pictured in charge of West Bromwich Albion on October 22, 2019© Reuters

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Bilic, whose first season at West Ham United made shockwaves across the Premier League, is doing something similar with the Midlands side.

Following a decent 2018-19 campaign, with West Brom finishing fourth on 80 points, Bilic arrived in the summer and has since refined the shape and feel of the side's patterns going forward.

Opting for a 4-2-3-1 system, Bilic encourages full-backs to get forward while the likes of Matt Phillips and Hal Robson-Kanu, who have 11 goals between them this term, end up in a more central role, linking up smartly and finding pockets of space to exploit.

As ever, though, primary emphasis is placed on having a strong defensive core, providing a platform that enables the Baggies to stay in any given game, as seen by the fact that they are yet to lose at home this season.

Indeed, West Brom will be fully expected to maintain that excellent record when they welcome Steve Cooper's side on Sunday afternoon.

Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic scores their second goal against Swansea on November 29, 2019© Reuters

Swansea, however, will weirdly view this away trip to the league leaders as a chance to clear the slate after losing four of their last five home games.

Under new boss Cooper, the Welsh side has shown moments of genuine promise - victories over Leeds and Cardiff City are examples - but this has come up against a wider backdrop of inconsistency.

As seen in recent defeats to Fulham and Millwall, Swansea work hard as a defensive unit, playing in an organised fashion, but lack any discernible style or sense of direction when attacking in the final third.

That they have only managed 24 goals from 19 games - there are 13 teams with a better total - will be a source of concern for Swansea, who must find greater urgency and zip if they are to push for promotion.

A strong performance at the Hawthorns, in a game that they are expected to lose, would serve as the ideal time for Swansea to find their scoring boots.

Recent West Bromwich Albion form: DWWWWW
Recent Swansea City form: WWDLDL


Team News

Swansea City boss Steve Cooper pictured on August 31, 2019© Reuters

West Brom have the rare blessing of no major injuries for this game, meaning that Bilic can select a full strength starting XI.

Kanu and Matheus Pereira are expected to feature down the middle in attack, with Phillips and Grady Diangana on either side.

For Swansea, Cooper continues to be without veteran player Wayne Routledge, who has been sidelined with a muscle injury since last month.

Joe Rodon and Jordan Carrick are the two long-term absentees, with neither player expected to return until next year.

West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Johnstone; Ferguson, Bartley, Ajayi, Gibbs; Sawyers, Livermore; Pereira, Diangana, Phillips, Robson-Kanu

Swansea City possible starting lineup:
Woodman; Roberts, Wilmot, Van der Hoorn, Naughton; Fulton, Grimes; Byers, McKay; Baston


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We say: West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Swansea City

Swansea currently have the feel of a team that is struggling to locate a sense of rhythm or momentum going forward, while West Brom are in something of a groove, finding ways to score in games even when they are not playing well.

Expect a relatively even game but one ultimately decided by a West Brom team whose confidence going forward is in a much better place compared with their opponents this weekend.


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Who will win Sunday's Championship clash between West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City?

West Bromwich Albion
Draw
Swansea City
West Bromwich Albion
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Swansea City
0.0%
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West Bromwich Albion's Matheus Pereira celebrates scoring their second goal on November 27, 2019
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