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West Brom have appointed Steve Bruce as their new manager on an 18-month contract.

The 61-year-old is back in work having been sacked at Newcastle in October following the club’s takeover and is charged with taking the Baggies back to the Premier League.

Bruce has plenty of experience of that, winning promotion from the Championship four times, and has managed in the midlands previously with both Aston Villa and Birmingham.

Bruce was not envisaging such a quick return to the dugout after an experience at Newcastle that took its toll on him, but he said he could not turn the Hawthorns project down.

He told the club’s official website: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to manage a club that has such great history and tradition.

“It is a club I obviously know well from my time in the midlands, and I am already relishing the challenge of taking it forward.

“I did not envisage I would return to management this quickly, but once I got the phone call from Ron (chief executive Ron Gourlay), I knew I could not resist the challenge of getting this club back to where they want to be.

“I am coming in with one aim and that is to get Albion to the Premier League.”

Bruce will take assistants Stephen Clemence and Steve Agnew with him, as well as his son Alex Bruce in a coaching role, joining James Morrison and Gary Walsh in the club’s backroom staff.

Albion’s chief executive officer Ron Gourlay said: “Steve is a highly-respected and experienced manager who has an impressive record of earning promotion to the Premier League.

“His excellent man-management skills, tactical nous, and ability to hit the ground running were among the many reasons we decided he was the man to take us forward.

“Promotion remains our objective for this season, and we are confident that with Steve leading the club we have given ourselves every chance of achieving that goal.”

Bruce will be in charge for the first time when Albion visit another one of his former clubs, Sheffield United, next Wednesday.

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Arsenal ease pressure with thumping Carabao Cup win at West Brom

Arsenal got their season up and running by coasting to victory in their second-round Carabao Cup tie at West Brom – with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hitting a hat-trick on his return to the side.

With pressure building on manager Mikel Arteta already after two defeats at the start of the new Premier League campaign, there was welcome relief as the Gunners smashed their hosts 6-0.

Aubameyang had been struck down by Covid on the eve of the new season, missing the loss at Brentford and coming off the bench in defeat to Chelsea.

He will not have scored many easier goals than the first-half brace he grabbed here before adding a fine third for the match ball as Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette also found the back of the net.

Saka was lively and Martin Odegaard impressed on his second debut for the club following his permanent switch from Real Madrid last week – but Arteta and his side will not be judged on such tests as this.

While the Arsenal starting XI boasted 348 senior international caps and three national captains in Aubameyang, Odegaard and Granit Xhaka – West Brom made 11 changes from their win at Blackburn, handing out five debuts with an average age of under 23.

Aaron Ramsdale made his Arsenal debut in goal and got off to a shaky start with his feet in front on an unfamiliar back four, which included Sead Kolasinac at centre-back.

He did, however, make a smart low save to keep out Tom Fellow’s low strike as the hosts started well – only to fall behind on 17 minutes.

Saka’s smart feet saw him evade a number of challenges before his low shot was pushed out into the feet of Aubameyang, who tucked home from close-range for Arsenal’s first goal of the campaign.

Odegaard should have marked his second debut with a goal but hit the post from a tight angle with the goal gaping.

The tie was wrapped up as Arsenal scored two in quick succession on the stroke of half-time.

First, Aubameyang doubled his tally for the night as he tapped home after Pepe hit the post following a fine Mohamed Elneny pass.

Then he turned provider, seeing his own shot saved before his acrobatic shot fell to Pepe who slid in to finish.

Saka got his name on the scoresheet soon after the restart, finishing with aplomb following a fine flick from Odegaard.

Lacazette opened his account for the season just four minutes into his first appearance, tucking home at the front post as Pepe claimed another assist.

That was the end of the rout as Arteta enjoyed a fine evening all round ahead of Saturday’s trip to reigning Premier League champions and Carabao Cup holders Manchester City.

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Crystal Palace could edge closer towards another exciting addition this summer after receiving a boost in their pursuit of West Bromwich Albion midfielder Matheus Pereira.

The highly-rated Brazilian has been linked with a move to the Eagles in recent weeks along with several other Premier League sides following a string of impressive performances last season.

However, persistent speculation over Pereira’s immediate future led to new West Brom manager Valerien Ismael questioning his commitment over the weekend (as reported by the Leicester Mercury).

“He was clear he wants to leave. He is not committed to the Championship and not committed to us. I said I accept this decision, but I have to take my decision, and now we need to solve the situation, ” Ismael said.

The former Barnsley boss’s bold claims didn’t go down well with Pereira, though, who responded with a passionate statement of his own.

“I remained silent and was not going to address anything until after the transfer window out of respect for the fans and my teammates, however after being called ‘not committed’ I felt extremely disrespected as a professional, I’ve been living off football since I was 12 years old, I chose to give up family time and ordinary fun to chase after a dream of a better future for myself and those around me…

“I want to leave, I want to seek new experiences, but want to do this in a fair and correct manner. I will be forever grateful to WBA, to its fans and to every single professional who works at the club and who welcomed me with open arms,” the statement read.

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Sam Allardyce said he will step down as West Bromwich Albion manager at the end of the season after Wednesday’s 3-1 home defeat by West Ham United in the Premier League.

Allardyce took charge in December after Slaven Bilic was sacked, but Allardyce was unable to save the Midlands club from an immediate return to the Championship.

It is the first time the much-travelled Allardyce has been in charge of a team relegated from the top-flight.

“West Bromwich Albion made me a generous offer to stay at The Hawthorns that shows the commitment of an ambitious club,” Allardyce said in a statement.

“After serious consideration I have decided not to accept that offer.”

Allardyce, who has a reputation for guiding teams to safety, took charge with West Brom already in deep trouble, having won only one of their opening 13 games.

He improved performances, and in April, after back-to-back wins including an incredible 5-2 victory over Chelsea, it seemed that Allardyce might manage a great escape for West Brom.

But a 3-1 defeat by Arsenal on May 9 condemned them to a second relegation from the top-flight in four seasons.

“The club have asked for my opinion on the qualities my successor will require, and I have been more than happy to offer my thoughts,” Allardyce said.

“The search for my replacement starts after the final game of the season at Leeds United.

“In the meantime, we will be concentrating fully on the preparation for that game and will do everything we can to finish the season with as many points as possible.”

Allardyce’s longtime assistant Sammy Lee and first team coach Robbie Stockdale will also depart the club.

Interviewed by Sky Sports after the defeat by his old club West Ham, an agitated Allardyce offered a rather ironic take on his decision to step aside.

“You all know I am a short-term manager, you have all seen me like that for the last six years,” he said. “That is me, that is where I lie and that is what you continue to think.

“I haven’t been more than that [a firefighter] for the last six or seven years because that is all you lot talk about.”

He also took offence at West Ham striker Michail Antonio’s description of West Brom’s style as direct.

“If you thought that was long ball today then somebody is deluded,” Allardyce said.

Sporting and technical director, Luke Dowling, said: “Sam, Sammy and Robbie came in at a really difficult time for the football club and worked tirelessly in their efforts to keep the club in the Premier League.

“Ultimately, we were unable to accumulate the points total required to keep us here, but Sam certainly restored pride with a number of resilient displays.”

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Late goals by Angelo Ogbonna and Michail Antonio sealed a 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion to edge West Ham United closer to UEFA Europa League football next season.

West Ham made a bad start to the match as Declan Rice missed a penalty before Matheus Pereira gave West Brom a 27th-minute lead, scoring directly from a corner for his sixth goal in eight matches.

But Tomas Soucek equalised in first-half stoppage time when he tapped in Said Benrahma’s low cross at the far post.

Aaron Cresswell then struck a post before the left-back’s corner kick set up Ogbonna to put West Ham ahead on 82 minutes.

Antonio added a third on the counter-attack with two minutes left after being played in by Jesse Lingard.

It means West Ham need only a point at home to Southampton on Sunday to guarantee a sixth-placed finish.

Relegated West Brom stay 19th on 26 points and have announced Sam Allardyce will step down from his position as head coach at the end of the season.

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An emotional Alisson Becker fought back tears after the goalkeeper’s stoppage-time header clinched Liverpool’s dramatic 2-1 win at West Brom.

The Brazil international glanced Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner past Sam Johnstone at the death to score a shock goal that moved the Reds to within a point of fourth-placed Chelsea with two Premier League games left.

Alisson dedicated his goal to his father, Jose Agostinho Becker, who drowned near his home in Brazil in February.

“I’m too emotional,” Alisson told Sky Sports. “This last month for everything that happened with me, with my family, but football is my life, the places, everything I remember as a human being.

“With my father, I hope he was here to see it, but I’m sure he was seeing, with God at his side, celebrating.”

Alisson, unable to return to Brazil following his father’s death due to the coronavirus pandemic, also said his goal was for his family and team-mates.

“What a fight,” Alisson said. “Sometimes we are fighting and fighting and things are just not happening like this afternoon here and just scoring this goal, I’m really happy to help them because we fight a lot together.

“We have a goal to achieve the Champions League because we won it once and everything started with the qualification, so I can’t be more happy than I am now.”

He joked it was the best goal he had scored, adding: “It was the perfect time. The cross was brilliant again. I just tried to put my head on the ball and I think it was one of the best goals I’ve scored!

“I’m really happy. I don’t have too many words, I just have to say thank you to the players because they fight a lot. We fight a lot.”

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Goalkeeper Alisson Becker headed a dramatic stoppage-time winner at West Brom to keep Liverpool’s Champions League hopes alive.

Just as the Reds’ top-four chances looked virtually over, the Brazil international glanced in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner to clinch a 2-1 win.

He was mobbed by his team-mates after his shock goal moved Liverpool to within a point of fourth-placed Chelsea with two Premier League games left.

Mohamed Salah had earlier cancelled out Hal Robson-Kanu’s first top-flight goal for almost four years.

Roberto Firmino hit the post and Sadio Mane had a goal disallowed for offside as relegated Albion gave as good as they got.

Kyle Bartley saw his goal ruled out as the Baggies nearly caused an upset before Alisson’s late heroics.

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West Brom’s Premier League relegation was confirmed as Arsenal returned to winning ways to sink Sam Allardyce’s side.

The Baggies are the eighth club Allardyce has managed in the Premier League but a 3-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium means the former England boss has been relegated from the division for the first time.

The writing had been on the wall for some time and, despite a good start here, goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe had them on the ropes. Matheus Pereira reduced the arrears with a memorable strike but Willian’s first Arsenal goal from a late free-kick sealed the Baggies’ fate.

For the hosts, this was a positive response to their Europa League semi-final exit at the hands of Villarreal on Thursday night and just about kept alive their hopes of securing European football in some guise next season.

It is an indictment of Arsenal’s own league campaign that, if West Brom had won in north London, they would have moved closer in the table to the Gunners than Mikel Arteta’s men are to second-placed Manchester United.

But it was not to be as West Brom returned to the Sky Bet Championship after one season back in the top flight.

Pereira went agonisingly close top putting the visitors ahead with their first opening of the game, bending a strike inches wide of Bernd Leno’s goal with the Germany international beaten.

Callum Robinson was recalled to the Baggies side and hit the crossbar soon after, only to see the offside flag raised.

Allardyce’s team were certainly on top and Pereira whistled another effort wide as they looked to give themselves an early lead.

Bukayo Saka, operating at left-back for the hosts, was once again the bright spark in their side and saw penalty appeals waved away after he broke into the box and was well challenged by Darnell Furlong.

West Brom may have created the best of the early openings but it was Arsenal who would break the deadlock, Smith Rowe slotting home from a Saka cross just before the half-hour mark for his first Premier League goal.

The home team’s lead was doubled six minutes later, Pepe cutting in from the right flank and curling home a fine effort.

Albion responded after the break and refused to go down with a whimper, Pereira running the full length of the Arsenal half before scoring past Leno to half the deficit.

But, while Allardyce had never previously tasted Premier League relegation, he failed to record a first-ever away win against Arsenal as a manager as a superb Willian free-kick in the last minute secured the points for the hosts.

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Mbaye Diagne’s second-half header grabbed a point for West Bromwich Albion against Wolves in the Black Country derby.

The visitors began strongly and Nelson Semedo’s fierce shot was tipped over the bar by Sam Johnstone before Diagne had a header cleared off the line for the hosts at the other end.

Wolves took the lead in fortunate fashion in first-half stoppage time when Fabio Silva’s deflected effort ballooned up over Johnstone and into the net.

Rui Patricio saved superbly to deny Conor Gallagher but West Brom did level 17 minutes after the break when Conor Townsend swung over a perfect cross for Diagne to head in and secure a point for Sam Allardyce’s men.

Relegation-threatened West Brom stay 19th, on 26 points, 10 behind 17th-placed Newcastle. Wolves stay 12th on 42 points.

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Jamie Vardy ended his two-month goal drought as Leicester tightened their grip on a Champions League spot by breezing past West Brom.

Striker Vardy, who had not netted in his previous 11 games, kick-started a 3-0 win to help push the Baggies closer to the drop.

In-form Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans, against his former club, also netted first-half goals to put the Foxes, who remain third in the Premier League, four points clear of fifth-placed West Ham.

Outclassed Albion, nine points from safety, saw their survival hopes suffer a damaging blow and were left to rue Mbaye Diagne’s early mis-kick.

They have just six games to save themselves but look destined to return to the Sky Bet Championship after a first-half rout at the King Power Stadium.

Still buoyant after reaching their first FA Cup final for 52 years on Sunday, the Foxes should have gone ahead after three minutes.
Conor Townsend’s mistake allowed Iheanacho to run clean through but the forward – with 12 goals in his previous 12 games – took a heavy touch which allowed Sam Johnstone to force him wide.

The goalkeeper eventually blocked the shot and the Foxes nearly paid the price shortly after.

Wesley Forfana’s poor head fell kindly for Matheus Pereira who calmly found Diagne six yards out, only for the striker to completely miss his kick.

Leicester survived and took charge with two quick strikes as Vardy ended his long wait for a goal after 23 minutes.

Youri Tielemans’ pass split the Albion defence for Timothy Castagne to run clear and find Vardy to finish for his 15th of the season but just a second goal in 20 games.

Three minutes later it was 2-0 when Callum Robinson deflected Tielemans’ corner perfectly for Evans to hammer home a header from six yards.

The Foxes threatened to run riot and James Maddison sent Castagne away but the left-back drilled against the post before Maddison tested Johnstone from distance.

The Baggies were remarkably open, reminiscent of when they conceded 19 goals in Allardyce’s first five home games, and Leicester wrapped the game up nine minutes before the break.

Vardy glided past Townsend to tee up Iheanacho who continued his hot streak by firing into the roof of the net.

It came seconds after Pereira’s corner hit the top of Leicester’s bar but there was no way back for West Brom.

Nigeria international Iheanacho blazed over soon after while Matt Phillips drove at Kasper Schmeichel in a rare Albion opening.

The Foxes had blown the visitors away, and they continued to hound the Baggies after the break with Dara O’Shea deflecting Iheanacho’s drive over.

Albion at least tightened up to deny Leicester more space, but they lacked any intensity to fight their way back.

Vardy, though, almost embarrassed Phillips with 19 minutes left when the winger left Evans’ clearance to roll out.

The ball stayed in and Vardy tried to catch out Johnstone from 40 yards, but his strike trickled wide.

Iheanacho was denied a second when Johnstone saved his free kick with 10 minutes left, but Leicester inched closer to a Champions League return with Albion heading for the Championship.