West Brom are back in the Premier League, even if they somewhat did it the hard way by drawing at home to QPR on a dramatic final night in the Championship.
When Ryan Manning put the visitors ahead on 34 minutes, the Baggies temporarily dropped behind Brentford into third place, but then the Bees also fell behind in their game and Grady Diangana drew Albion level just before half-time. [via Sky Sports]
When Callum Robinson gave them the lead early in the second half, West Brom seemed to be coasting to promotion, only for Eberechi Eze’s equaliser to set nerves jangling again. In the end, the point was actually more than enough as Brentford lost at home to Barnsley and Fulham failed to beat Wigan.
Slaven Bilic made several changes to his line-up from the team that began last week’s defeat at Huddersfield, with Kyle Bartley among those to come in (Ahmed Hegazi dropped out), and the 29-year-old certainly did his bit in helping the Baggies to get over the line.
The centre-back was dominant in the air, winning no fewer than five headers against the R’s, and had more touches of the ball (72) than any of his team-mates – indeed, Filip Krovinovic was next on that list with 59. Bartley also ended the night with three clearances, one successful tackle and one block. [via WhoScored]
That block was almost enough to prevent the opening goal as he got in the way of Manning’s initial shot before the ball fell kindly for the QPR man to finish it to the net second time around.
Who was West Brom's best player on the night that promotion was won?
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Birmingham Live writer Joseph Chapman gave the West Brom defender an eight in his player ratings, noting that he “won everything aerially” and “justified his recall” to the starting XI. He also pointed out how Bartley took charge at the back as he “dished out a rollicking to Furlong and Pereira when they were caught napping at a QPR corner that was quickly taken”.
The 29-year-old sat out Albion’s last couple of games but, upon returning to the team for his 37th league start of the season, he showed why Bilic has depended on him for most of the season and why the manager turned to him on a pivotal night for the Baggies. It was a selection call which paid dividends for the Croatian as Bartley came to the fore to help his team to return to the top flight after a two-year absence and avoid the lottery of the play-offs, where they came a cropper 14 months ago.
West Brom fans, how crucial was Bartley’s performance in getting Albion over the line last night? Comment below with your views!
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