Bilic lands new job after West Brom dismissal

The former Croatia player and manager oversaw the Baggies’ promotion from the Sky Bet Championship last season but they struggled on their return to the Premier League.

The club sat 19th with seven points from 13 games when Bilic’s 18-month stint at the helm was brought to an end and he was replaced by Sam Allardyce on December 16.

However, Bilic has quickly moved on as he has signed a two-year deal to replace former Lyon boss Bruno Genesio at Beijing Guoan, who finished third in last year’s domestic league.

A club statement on Twitter said: “We are honoured to announce a 2-year contract with our new first team coach Mr. Slaven Bilic and coach team, welcome to Beijing.

“We would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation for all of the hard work and dedication Mr. Bruno Genesio made for us. We wish you all the best in your future professional endeavours.”

Sam Allardyce: Clean sheets are more important than goals for West Brom

Following his appointment as their new boss four days earlier, Allardyce saw the Baggies slump to a 3-0 home loss to Aston Villa in the first match of his tenure last Sunday.

West Brom, second-bottom of the league with one win and seven points from 14 outings, have conceded 29 goals across those games.

Their goals for tally currently stands at 10, with just five being registered in the last 11 matches.
Ahead of Sunday’s trip to champions and current table-toppers Liverpool, Allardyce said: “You start by sorting the defence out because if we get a clean sheet we only need one goal to win, and at this moment in time, the team is struggling to score more than one goal in a game.

West Brom drew 1-1 at Manchester City in their final match under Allardyce’s predecessor Slaven Bilic, and the 66-year-old former England boss said: “If they show the type of fighting spirit they did against Manchester City then they will have a chance of blocking out Liverpool and seeing what they can do with possession.”

Allardyce has also emphasised the importance of having an environment at the club where people have “a laugh and a joke” with each other.

West Brom face off against Liverpool, at Anfield, at 16:30 on Sunday.

Premier League: Manchester City v West Brom

Although Pep Guardiola’s side have not been formidable this season in comparison to previous campaigns under his tenure, they will still pose a significant threat to Slaven Bilic’s Baggies.

City could only hash out a tame goalless draw away at bitter rivals Manchester United at the weekend, with the 0-0 scoreline at Old Trafford the first Manchester Derby to draw a blank in five years.

Creativity has been City’s issue, something which is surprising to say considering the blueprint of Guardiola’s Blues so far down the years.

The lacklustre beginning to the season for Man City means they are ninth in the standings and four points off the Champions League places heading in to this one.

West Brom meanwhile always knew they had a battle on their hands after being promoted from the Championship last season, with the Baggies second-from-bottom and 3 points from safety – although Burnley, the 17th placed side, do have a game in hand.

Albion will be disappointed with their loss to Newcastle United at the weekend, with Toon goals at both the start and the end of the game condemning them to their eighth loss of the season.

Conceding goals has been a major problem for the Baggies, with the 25 they have shipped the highest of any Premier League club so far this term.

Furthermore, West Brom’s only victory of the campaign to date was against rock-bottom Sheffield United, so any hope of victory over Manchester City is slim.

Slaven Bilic is without suspended midfielder and key performer Matheus Pereira for the trip to the Etihad, but more positive news is that Charlie Austin and Kieran Gibbs are both pushing for inclusion from the start.

Man City are likely to once again be missing Sergio Aguero, who sat out of the Manchester Derby at the weekend – the striker has had a flare up of a knee meniscus issue which required surgery in the summer – add to that a recent bout of illness and the Argentine is almost certain to miss out.

Eric Garcia is another absentee due to a muscle strain, but Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva are likely to see some game time against the Baggies after Guardiola opted not to use them against United.

Manchester City v West Brom is an 8pm kick off on Tuesday 15th December.

Newcastle battle back to beat West Brom 2-1

The Magpies preparations were hit by an ongoing coronavirus outbreak at the club but goals from Miguel Almiron and Dwight Gayle secured a crucial three points.

Bruce’s team waited until the 88th minute to win at Crystal Palace last weekend but Almiron needed just 20 seconds to get the ball rolling in this one.

Jamal Lewis’ long ball forward caused problems in the Baggies back line and Joelinton calmly slipped in the Paraguayan to tuck past Sam Johnstone.

The Magpies continued to dominate from there as Johnstone was called into action to deny Almiron and Joelinton with Connor Gallagher wasting a chance at the other end.

But despite struggling for a foothold in the first half, Slaven Bilic’s hauled themselves level just after the restart.

Matt Phillips wriggled to the byline and clipped into the back post and with Lewis caught ball watching, Darnell Furlong stole in to poke past Karl Darlow.

Bruce opted to throw on Gayle with 20 minutes to go and the former Palace man almost made an instant impact as Phillips got back to clear his header off the line.

But the Magpies forgotten man was not to be denied his big moment as he angled home a header from Jacob Murphy’s cross to seal the win for Bruce.

Full Time at St. James’ Park it’s Newcastle 2 West Brom 1

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United v West Brom

Slaven Bilic’s team have only racked up one win on their top-flight return and a 5-1 thrashing at Crystal Palace last time out will have dented confidence.

Matheus Pereira is definitely out after he was sent off against Palace with Hal Robson-Kanu and Connor Townsend both ruled out with injury.

Dara O’Shea is likely to replace Branislav Ivanovic in defence with Callum Robinson also in line to make a rare start.

For Newcastle, Steve Bruce’s hand will be forced Covid-19 regulations, with the Magpies squad still decimated by players in self isolation.

Bruce has confirmed he will have to wait until the last minute to name a starting team against the Baggies with up to eight players set to miss out.

But it was not all negative news for Bruce, as key pair Ryan Fraser and Allan Saint-Maximin returned to training this week, and the former Manchester United defender has confirmed they will be included after returning negative Covid-19 tests.

And Kick Off is set for 3pm tomorrow at St. James’ Park

Crystal Palace thrash 10-man West Brom 5-1 at The Hawthorns

Both sides looked impressive in the opening stages but the controversial dismissal of Matheus Pereira turned the game in Palace’s favour after the break.

Palace were quick to turn on the style in the West Midlands as talisman Wilf Zaha carved out the opener inside the first five minutes.

His pace took him away from three Baggies defenders and his fizzed cross into the box was diverted home by West Brom defender Darnell Furlong.

Furlong looked to be on a one-man mission to make up from his error after that as he smacked a header off the bar and played a key role in the Baggies equaliser.

Semi Ajayi’s pass sent him clear behind the Palace defence and Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher arrived on cue to tuck away his cross.

That breathed some life back into Slaven Bilic’s team but the Croatian was left incensed as Pereira was sent off on 34 minutes.

The Brazilian tangled with Patrick van Aanholt but VAR ruled a kick out by him and Paul Tierney opted to flash a straight red.

That completely changed the complexion of the match after the restart as Zaha curled home a beauty on 55 minutes.

Palace simply powered on from there as Christian Benteke nodded home from van Aanholt’s cross and Zaha tucked home from Eberechi Eze’s pass.

And with Bilic’s hosts on the ropes in the final minutes, Benteke grabbed his second of the day, as he powered home Nathaniel Clyne’s cross.

Full Time at The Hawthorns it’s West Brom 1 Crystal Palace 5

West Brom secure their first Premier League win in 2020/21 against Sheffield United

Both sides were winless heading into this tie, with a total of 18 games and no wins on the board.

But a first half strike from Chelsea loanee Conor Townsend proved the difference in the West Midlands as Slaven Bilic’s team edge out of the relegation zone.

The Blades were the brighter in the opening stages as Oli McBurnie and John Fleck both wasted early chances.

But with the visitors unable to find a cutting edge despite creating chances, West Brom took full advantage on 13 minutes.

Mateus Pereira’s corner was only cleared to the edge of the box and Gallagher was onto the loose ball in a flash and drilled past Aaron Ramsdale.

But Chris Wilder’s side were quick to react to that as Sam Johnstone produced a fantastic stop from Oli Burke.

It was the hosts that enjoyed the better chances just after the break as Ramsdale was called into action to deny Kyle Bartley and Callum Robinson.

That left the door open for the Blades late on but their familiar lack of cutting edge came back to haunt them again as West Brom hung in for that vital first win.

Full Time at The Hawthorns it’s West Brom 1 Sheffield United 0

Bruno Fernandes spot kick seals 1-0 Manchester United win over West Brom

United’s poor home form has been a concern for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but Bruno Fernandes’ second half penalty has ended their miserable Old Trafford run.

The hosts looked busy right from the off in this one, as former United keeper Sam Johnstone produced a fine reaction stop to deny Anthony Martial.

The Baggies worked hard to block United out before the break, and Kyle Bartley was inches away nodding home a deep corner.

And Slaven Bilic’s side were almost handed a lucky opener just seconds after the restart, as referee David Coote awarded his first of three penalties on the night.

Fernandes’ did catch Conor Gallagher inside the box, but after a quick VAR check, Coote decided to overrule himself.

That decision injected some life into the second half, as Rashford tested Johnstone and Connor Townsend forced a rare
stop from David De Gea.

But VAR was to have its say again on 55 minutes, as Coote penalised Semi Ajayi for handball, but the impressive Johnstone produced a brilliant save from Fernandes’ spot kick.

However, luck was to go against the young keeper, as Coote ordered a retake after he strayed off his line and Fernandes made no mistake on take two.

United did almost let West Brom back into the game late on, as substitute Callum Robinson fired against the bar, but in the end United had just enough to hold on.

Full Time at Old Trafford it’s Manchester United 1 West Brom 0

West Brom boss Bilic awaits coronavirus test results for Baggies squad

The Baggies saw both defender Branislav Ivanovic and forward Matheus Pereira ruled out of the previous Premier League game against Tottenham following positive Covid-19 tests.

Striker Callum Robinson, meanwhile, tested positive for the virus while away with the Republic of Ireland.

Bilic confirmed all three should now be available for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Manchester United.

The club, though, are still waiting for the all clear from players coming back to the UK, with training schedules having been moved to hopefully allow for results to be processed.

“Matheus and Branislav are back in training because they have done the quarantine and tested negative,” Bilic said.

“We’ve had a few players who were positive, so they did not train for 10 days. For some of them (coming back from international duty), we are still waiting for the test results.

“Hopefully they will be back for training tomorrow, maybe some today – as we are training a bit later for the results to be (here) on time.

“Some of the guys who were on international duty are due to be back today, so they had to do the (Covid) test again as soon as they landed back in the country.

“Hopefully they are all going to be good, but we had a few cases, yes. (It is) confidential. We cannot say the names.

“Let’s say a few, but the good thing is players like Pereira and Ivanovic are back.

“They have been training this week so they should be alright for the game against Man United.”

Bilic added: “Callum Robinson went (away) for Ireland, but he got a positive test.

“He is fit, he did a test last night and the results came this morning. He is negative so we are hoping to see today, but they should (all) be okay.”

West Brom are not the only Premier League side to be hit by players testing positive for Covid-19 while off travelling around the globe.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny have returned positive coronavirus tests during their time away with Egypt.

Arsenal are also expected to have to be without Bosnia defender Sead Kolasinac after his confirmed case.

Bilic, though, accepts there is “nothing you can do” about the situation – apart from be prepared how to tackle it.

“You cant plan ‘we are going to play like this’, with not having a Plan B or alternatives,” the West Brom manager said.

“It is not that it may happen, it is going to happen unfortunately – and not just for us, but for every team it is going to happen.

“You just have to hope that you are going to be lucky enough that it will not be your players who get it.

“But what you have to do is have in mind also some other guys and monitor them more than you should.

“It is basically that you just don’t have your starting XI, but to have your starting 16.

“You have to keep them all on their toes because their chance can come – and is coming basically – like this, when the situation changes dramatically.”

Premier League Preview: Fulham v West Brom

The Cottagers find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table with just one point from six games, with rivals West Brom only faring slightly better with three points on the board

Fulham boss Scott Parker has confirmed no new injury worries ahead of this game with Kenny Tete, Josh Onomah and Neeskens Kebano all ruled out.

Aboubakar Kamara will also miss out through suspension but Harrison Reed and Joe Bryan should both be in line to return.

For the Baggies, Slaven Bilic is still without Hal Robson-Kanu, as the Welsh international continues his recovery from a broken arm, but Irish defender Dara O’Shea is back fit to return.

The Croatian boss was pleased with their draw against Brighton last time out, but he could look to recall Callum Robinson and Kyle Bartley in West London.

And it will be a 5.30pm kick off on Monday night at Craven Cottage.

Premier League Preview: Brighton v West Brom

The visitors have picked up just two points on their return to the top-flight with hard fought draws against Chelsea and Burnley in recent weeks.

Slaven Bilic’s side were unlucky not to beat the Clarets last weekend and the Croatian boss is set for minor changes with Irish international duo Dara O’Shea and Callum Robinson both expected to return to the side.

The hosts are also struggling for form heading into this one with Graham Potter’s side picking up one point in their last three games.

The Seagulls rallied late on at Crystal Palace last weekend and match winner Alexis MacAllister come in to start in this one.

Lewis Dunk misses out through suspension with Joel Veltman set to fill in and Pascal Gross and Aaron Connolly should also come back in.

Kick off is 5.15pm on Monday night at the AMEX Stadium.

Premier League Preview: West Brom v Burnley

Slaven Bilic’s side are edging it in terms of current form with one point from four games against the Clarets four match losing streak.

The Baggies will be boosted by some important returns for this one, with Kieran Gibbs back from suspension and Ahmed Hegazy and Conor Gallagher back fit.

However, with Hal Robson-Kanu sidelined with a broken arm and Callum Robinson isolating after international duty, meaning Bilic will be without a regular No.9 option.

Sean Dyche has his own injury worries ahead of this one with four first team stars laid low with injury.

But the struggling visitors should be boosted by the returns of Jay Rodriguez and Johan Gudmundsson after Dyche confirmed they have both returned to training this week.

And kick off is Monday night 5.30pm at The Hawthorns.