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West Brom 5 Swansea 1 - Report and pictures

By Joseph Masi | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

A footballing masterclass from Matheus Pereira inspired Albion to an emphatic 5-1 victory over Swansea.

The Brazilian scored one and had a huge say in the Baggies four other goals as Slaven Bilic's side returned to the top of the Championship in style.

Swansea headed to The Hawthorns as the only team in the EFL still to lose away from home this season.

And to give Steve Cooper's side credit, they tried to play on the front foot throughout.

But Albion simply had too much quality with Semi Ajayi opening the scoring before Pereira netted to put his side two goals up.

Sam Surridge pulled one back for the visitors before Hal Robson-Kanu restored Albion's two-goal cushion before the break with an excellent finish.

And after the interval, though, there was only one team in it with Matt Phillips and substitute Kyle Edwards going on to earn their side and en emphatic, and fully deserved, victory.

Report

Unsurprisingly, Bilic kept faith with the team that overcame both Bristol City and Preston North End when naming his starting line-up.

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It meant the Baggies continued in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Robson-Kanu the lone striker, Pereira in the number 10 role and Grady Diangana and Phillips out wide.

Swansea, under the guidance of Steve Cooper, also lined up in a 4-2-3-1 system.

Surridge start up front with George Byers just behind and Andre Ayew and Kristoffer Pearson on the flanks.

In what proved an entertaining opening 20 minutes, both teams created chances to grab an early lead.

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It was the visitors who threatened first with Peterson meeting a cross from the right only to see his header deflect off Kyle Bartley and sail over.

At the other end, Jake Livermore then fizzed a strike into the side netting from the edge of the box.

Despite a host of team's heading to The Hawthorns and opting to sit back this season, the Swans were doing everything they could to play on the front foot.

And the two teams continued to trade blows with Livermore forcing Woodman into an excellent save from 25-yards.

Then from a similar distance, Ayew flashed an effort inches over Sam Johnstone's crossbar.

Gradually, though, Albion's quality began to tell.

And they should have opened the scoring when Phillips whipped a free-kick, 35-yards from goal, right into the danger area.

The delivery was met by Bartley but the defender powered a header straight at Woodman.

It was midway through the half that Albion got themselves in front.

First, Nathan Ferguson did well to win the ball in his own box.

Some wonderful hold-up play from Robson-Kanu then allowed Phillips to win a corner.

And from that corner, Ajayi nodded in.

Less than 10 minutes later, Bilic's side had doubled their advantage with a brilliantly worked goal.

Diangana sent Gibbs away down the left with the full-back then cutting the ball back to Pereira in the box.

And the Brazilian then emphatically powered a low drive into the bottom corner and beyond the reach of the diving Woodman.

To Swansea's credit, they continued to carry a threat.

And they pulled a goal back in the 39th minute when Surridge met a corner.

The striker's initial effort was blocked on the line by Bartley.

But the ball fell back to the Bournemouth loanee who then turned it in despite the defenders best attempts to keep it out.

Albion, though, didn't let the set-back affect them with Bilic's side restoring their two-goal advantage before the break.

After Livermore won possession in the middle of the park, Pereira played an outrageous through-ball to send Robson-Kanu charging through on goal.

Just like against Sheffield Wednesday, the striker still had an awful lot to do.

But yet again he produced a wonderful finish to curl the ball, first-time, beyond the keeper and into the far corner.

Swansea made a change at the break with Nathan Dyer replacing Peterson.

Albion were then forced into a change in the 55th minute when, under no pressure, Gibbs, pulled up holding his hamstring.

The full-back beat the floor in frustration with Darnell Furlong replacing him in a move that saw Ferguson switch to left-back.

Bilic's side were now comfortably on top.

And they almost extended their advantage just before the hour mark.

Phillips' clever free-kick got Pereira in-behind the Swansea defence.

And he then hit a low cross which Kyle Naughton turned towards his own goal.

Fortunately for the defender, though, Woodman was in the right place to spare his blushes with the keeper making an excellent stop to keep the ball out.

Albion had to make another enforced change in the 65th minute with Ahmed Hegazi replacing Bartley after the defender suffered a clash of heads with Ayew.

Despite the set-backs, the Baggies were now playing some outstanding stuff.

They grabbed a fourth when a poor touch from Matt Grimes allowed Pereira to nip in and win possession.

The Brazilian then delicately chipped the ball to the back post - with Phillips deftly heading it across goal and into the corner.

Four then quickly became five when substitute Kyle Edwards fired in after again being found by Pereira in the box.

Bilic's side then strolled through the last 10 minutes to secure their biggest win of the season.

Teams

Albion: (4-2-3-1): Johnstone, Ferguson, Bartley (Hegazi 65), Ajayi, Gibbs (Furlong 55), Livermore, Sawyers, Phillips, Pereira, Diangana (Edwards 71), Robson-Kanu.

Subs not used: Bond, Barry, Krovinovic, Austin.

Swansea (4-2-3-1): Woodman, Roberts, Wilmot, Van Der Hoorn, Naughton, Fulton, Grimes, Ayew (Kalulu 83), Byers (McKay 75), Peterson (Dyer 46), Surridge.

Subs not used: Nordfeldt, Carroll, Bidwell, Cabango.

Referee: Keith Stroud

Attendance: 22,927 with (1,632 away)

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

West Bromwich Albion reporter.

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