Albion look to return to top six with win at Coventry

Coventry City v West Bromwich Albion; CBS Arena, Monday 30th October 2023, 8pm

With just one defeat in their last eight matches, Albion head to Coventry on Monday evening needing a victory to regain a place in the top six following with the rest of the Championship having played over the weekend.

When the Baggies headed to the same venue last season, Corberán’s team had won five games on the bounce while City had recovered some form having started slowly with their home stadium out of action for the first few weeks of the season following its use as a rugby venue for the Commonwealth Games. In what was a tight game, the hosts won it with a late penalty to interrupt Albion’s surge up the table.

This season, Mark Robins’ side have struggled to get going with back-to-back wins over QPR and Blackburn a few weeks ago their only victories in their last eleven matches; they currently sit in 20th place albeit only five points behind Albion. Given the club’s activity in the transfer window and their finish in the play-offs last season, their start is somewhat below expectations. While the sales of Viktor Gyökeres and Gustavo Hamer evidently weakened the squad, much of the income was reinvested in nine new permanent signings along with two arrivals on loan. Striker, Ellie Simms, joined on loan for Everton for £8 million while American forward, Haji Wright, commanded a fee of £7.7 million from Antalyaspor – both have scored twice this season but have come in for criticism on social media with Robins forced into issuing a message this week asking the fans to “stick with them” as they begin to find their feet in the Championship. Successive away defeats at Bristol City and Rotherham United have not gone down well with the Sky Blues’ faithful and the team will be under pressure to get a result on Monday evening.

Since Saturday’s victory over QPR, Corberán finally got some good injury news for a change when the scan on Cédric Kipré’s knee injury revealed that it was not as serious as first thought. He is unlikely to be available for this match, but he should not be missing for too long. With Semi Ajayi ruled out, we will probably see a first start of the season for Caleb Taylor at the CBS Arena and I’m sure he will be eager to grasp the opportunity to prove what he can do.

Pieters performed OK against Rangers, but with Townsend available again after missing last Tuesday’s match through illness, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the former Scunthorpe man given the nod. In midfield, Corberán has mixed things up bit recently – Chalobah would be unlucky to lose his starting place following his delightful assist against QPR, but recent selections in the middle of the park suggest that no player can be sure of a spot from the off. Mowatt, Okay, Molumby and Chalobah have all performed well at times in recent week, so it is anybody’s guess which way the Spaniard will go.

I’d be surprised to see a change at wing back with Phillips and Furlong having been consistently selected pretty much all season. Further forward, the options are limited with Diangana, Wallace and Thomas-Asante the senior options, although Tom Fellows has certainly staked a claim in his substitute appearances and, if was down to me, I would start him above Wallace based on recent form. BTA certainly doesn’t look like he was lacking confidence when he dispatched the penalty on Tuesday, and I do feel his hold up play has been good even if his striker’s instincts haven’t been good enough in recent weeks. Having said that, I’m not sure that anyone fit could do a better job. Meanwhile, Grady is relishing a consistent starting place and has taken John Swift’s place as the primary creator – the decision to put him wide right with Furlong a little more central has proved to be something of a masterstroke with the new DR Congo international putting in probably his best performance of the season against QPR.

The second half display on Tuesday will give the Albion fans hope for this trip, although there may not be as many as last season given City’s decision to charge a scandalous £37 per ticket despite the match being televised live. Those that do go will be as loud as ever, of course, and will be hoping that Albion can prove that last season’s defeat at the CBS Arena was a mere blip by continuing their excellent record at the stadium.


Albion have lost just three of their fifteen meetings with Coventry City this century, winning ten and drawing two. Their defeat at the CBS Arena last season was their first defeat at the Sky Blues’ new home, and the Baggies have conceded just two goals in their six matches there, winning four of them scoring twelve goals in the process.

Two of those six matches were back-to-back visits in the 2007/08 season. Tony Mowbray’s team first visited in November 2007 for a Championship match – the Baggies were on form taking ten points from their previous twelve and sat in second place while Iain Dowie’s Sky Blues had won their last three and were just three points and three places behind Albion. What was, perhaps, the pivotal moment of the game came in the 11th minute when Maltese striker, Michael Mifsud led with an elbow in a challenge with the Baggies’ Belgian right-back, Carl Hoefkens, and was duly dismissed. The hosts managed to hold out with ten men for the first half but Albion broke through eleven minutes into the second half when Paul Robinson’s delightful chip put them one up. A Filipe Teixeira double and a late strike from Robert Koren made the final score 4-0.

By the time Albion returned to what was then called the Ricoh Arena in February for a fifth round FA Cup tie, City were languishing in 19th place and under the caretaker stewardship of Frankie Bunn and John Harbin following the dismissal of Dowie. The story was very similar, however, although the visitors had already taken the lead through Chris Brunt before Coventry went down to ten men. This time it was Micky Doyle who was given a straight red for what Mark Halsey deemed, perhaps harshly, to be a dangerous tackle on Zoltán Gera. Nevertheless, Albion took full advantage and scored a further four goals, two from Roman Bednár and one each from Ishmael Miller and Gera, to make the final score 5-0 and send the Baggies through to a quarter-final meeting with Bristol Rovers.

Those are the only two occasions when the Baggies have won at Coventry by more than two goals. Their biggest win at Highfield Road was back in March 1979. Albion had put seven past the Sky Blues earlier in the season and they hit double figures on aggregate as goals from Bryan Robson, David Mills and Ally Brown earned a 3-1 victory with future Baggie, Garry Thompson, netting for the hosts. That was Mills’ first goal for the Baggies on his full debut after his British record £518,000 move from Middlesbrough – he proved to be one of Albion’s worst big-money signings scoring just six times in 79 appearances; after a loan move to Newcastle United, he was sold to Sheffield Wednesday in January 1983 for just £30,000.

City’s biggest home win over Albion is 3-0, a scoreline they have achieved twice, most recently in September 1985 when former City midfielder, Steve Hunt, was sent off for the visitors as the Sky Blues scored through Micky Adams, Terry Gibson and Trevor Peake.

Stat Attack

Current Form

Albion D W W L D W
Coventry City D W W D L L

All competitions; most recent game on the right

Last matches

Last meeting

3 Feb 2023 – League Championship
West Bromwich Albion 1 (Diangana)
Coventry City 0

Last meeting at Coventry City

21 Dec 2022 – League Championship
Coventry City 1 (Gyökeres (pen))
West Bromwich Albion 0

Last win at Coventry City

4 Dec 2021 – League Championship
Coventry City 1 (McFadzean)
West Bromwich Albion 2 (Grant, McFadzean (o.g.))

Albion’s Record against Coventry City

  Overall   Away
  P W D L F A   P W D L F A
League 54 26 13 15 87 55   27 11 5 11 33 33
FA Cup 8 4 2 2 19 9   4 2 2 0 11 5
League Cup 5 3 2 0 13 6   2 0 2 0 1 1
Total 67 33 17 17 119 70   33 13 9 11 45 39

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