Sky Blues up next as Baggies seek to extend winning run

Coventry City v West Bromwich Albion; CBS Arena, Wednesday 21st December 2022, 7.45pm

Albion play their game in hand over the bulk of the Championship on Wednesday evening knowing that victory would move them up to eighth place for Christmas, something that was unthinkable a few short weeks ago.

When this fixture was originally scheduled in early September, both clubs were in a very different situation. Coventry City were yet to win a game having been unable to play at the CBS Arena at the beginning of the campaign after it was deemed unsafe following its use as the venue for the Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens tournament. While remedial work was carried out, their home Carabao Cup tie with Bristol City (which they lost 4-1) was moved to the Pirelli Stadium, home of Burton Albion, while their scheduled home fixtures with Wigan Athletic, Rotherham United and Huddersfield Town were all postponed. They finally hosted a home game on 31st August, losing 1-0 at home to Preston North End.

After the collapse of their landlords, Wasps, and the purchase of the stadium by Mike Ashley’s Fraser Group, there was further doubt on whether City would be able to use the CBS Arena and, indeed, whether this fixture would need to be postponed again. Thankfully, an agreement was reached last week for the Sky Blues to stay at the stadium until the end of the season at least.

Mark Robins had a tough job on his hands after a mixed transfer window that saw the club hold on to most of their key players including Callum O’Hare, Viktor Gyökeres and Gustavo Hamer but losing one of their best defensive talents in Dominic Hyam. Incomings were few and far between with Kasey Palmer the only permanent addition, the attacking midfielder joining from Bristol City. Three loan signings joined with centre backs Jonathan Panzo from Nottingham Forest and Callum Doyle from Manchester City becoming regular starters although Crystal Palace recalled Tayo Adaramola before the young wing back made an appearance.

Club CEO, Dave Boddy appeared to have set his expectations on just surviving in the division this campaign believing that last season’s 12th place finish was a massive “over-achievement” but also insisted that the budget for the playing staff had increased despite the minimal activity in the transfer window.

However, Robins seems intent on over-achieving once again – after earning just three points from their opening seven league fixtures, only one of which was at home, the Sky Blues earned their first win of the campaign at home to Middlesbrough at the start of October and haven’t really looked back since picking up 27 points from 14 games which sees them one point and two places above the Baggies. City looked to be on course for a fourth successive home win on Saturday when they were 3-0 up against Swansea City with less than half an hour to go, but it finished 3-3 suggesting the hosts’ back line can be got at, albeit it is something of an aberration given they had conceded just six goals in their previous fourteen matches!

While Coventry may be in much better form than they would have been had the fixture been played in September, so are the Baggies. Although Steve Bruce’s Albion had lost just one league game at that point, they had also won just one and were about to embark on a run of one point from four games that finally saw Bruce leave the club. Under Carlos Corberán, Albion are a very different proposition and they will be full of confidence having won five games in succession conceding just one goal.

Rotherham offered little opposition on Saturday and the expectation is that Coventry will be a much tougher test. Albion will still be without Semi Ajayi but Kyle Bartley could be available – he was close to being considered for Saturday’s game and it seems likely that he will be able to play some part on Wednesday evening. The strength of the City midfield could see a return to two defensive midfielders in Molumby and Okay rather than the two number tens we saw against the Millers. I would expect Grady Diangana to get a start as I’m expecting Corberán to rotate his attacking players over the festive period – I think BTA could also start for the same reason. Jed Wallace, however, would seem undroppable given his current form – his four goals and five assists put him top of Albion’s goalscoring and goal involvement tables this season and his performance against Rotherham was arguably his best in a Baggies shirt.

The Sky Blues are undoubtedly one of the form sides in the division – only Burnley have earned more points (29) in their last dozen matches than Coventry (23) – and this match will be Corberán’s toughest test yet. Having passed an examination at Sunderland with flying colours, victory at the CBS Arena would be another massive statement result. A point would be a good return, but I can’t help thinking that the Baggies are more than capable of coming away with all three. With more than 4,000 tickets sold to Baggies fans, I guess I’m not alone in that belief!


Given that Coventry City have been playing league football since 1919 and have spent the majority of the intervening years, like Albion, in the top two divisions, it is a little surprising that this week’s fixture will be just the 53rd meeting between the sides in the league.

The major reason for that is that the Sky Blues have had just one stint in the top flight, albeit it did last for 34 years, but they were years in which the Baggies spent much of the time, bar that wonderful decade in the late seventies and early eighties, languishing in the second tier.

The well-used statistic for City was that after winning Division Two in 1967, they failed to finish higher than sixth in any season until winning League One in 2020. And unless you count staying in the Premier League as a success, their only successes in between those years were the FA Cup win in 1987 and the play-off win in 2018 which was swiftly followed by another relegation.

Given the recent struggles of Albion’s most distant West Midlands neighbour, it’s no surprise that the Baggies have had the better of the results in recent years losing just one of the last ten meetings. The Baggies are yet to lose at City’s current stadium winning four and drawing one of their five matches there with an impressive aggregate score of 12-1 with Kyle McFadzean the only Coventry player to score against the Baggies at the venue, doing so in the last meeting in December 2021.

That aggregate is largely down to two big wins achieved under Tony Mowbray. In November 2007, second half goals from Paul Robinson, Filipe Teixeira (2) and Robert Koren earned the Baggies a 4-0 win after Michael Mifsud had been sent off in the first half and, on their return in the FA Cup three months later, Albion went one better. There was another sending off for the hosts, Micky Doyle on this occasion when Albion were already ahead through Chris Brunt, but Mowbray’s team went on to add another four goals with Roman Bednár scoring twice before Ishmael Miller and Zoltán Gera added the gloss. Unsurprisingly, that is Albion’s biggest win away to Coventry.

The Sky Blues’ best run of results against the Baggies was in the sixties when they won five of six meetings, albeit the game they lost finished 6-1 to Albion at the Hawthorns in October 1968! Although they won 4-2 on two occasions in that period, City’s biggest win in this fixture is 3-0, something they achieved twice at Highfield Road, first in December 1980 when Andy Blair, Gerry Daly and Baggie-to-be Steve Hunt were on the scoresheet, and then again five years later when the damage was done by Micky Adams, Terry Gibson and Trevor Peak, a game that saw the aforementioned Steve Hunt sent off for Albion.

Stat Attack

Current Form

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

All competitions; most recent game on the right

Last matches

Last meeting

23 Apr 2022 – League Championship
West Brom 0
Coventry City 0

Last meeting at Coventry City

4 Dec 2021 – League Championship
Coventry City 1 (McFadzean)
West Brom 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 52 25 13 14 86 54   26 11 5 10 33 32
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 65 32 17 16 118 69   32 13 9 10 45 38

Related posts