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West Brom’s Kyle Bartley is at risk of being dropped as Ahmed Hegazi nears return

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

West Brom may be unbeaten in the league under Slaven Bilic, but that doesn’t mean everything is perfect.

If it was then they’d have a 100% record intact and would be sitting rosy atop the Championship table – instead, they are fourth.

One of the more significant problems amongst the team is the issue of conceding goals – in seven matches across the Championship and Carabao Cup; they are yet to keep a single clean sheet.

That doesn’t bode well on any member of their backline.

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On the Chalkboard

It can be argued that the player most at threat is Kyle Bartley.

The Croatian signed Semi Ajayi at centre-back and Darnell Furlong at right-back, whilst also promoting Nathan Ferguson to the first-team fold.

Kieran Gibbs has more pedigree than anyone else, having had a long career with Arsenal in the Premier League, winning three FA Cups during his ten-year spell at the club.

He could indeed rotate in goal, having signed a third goalkeeper last week in Ali Al-Habsi, but even Johnathan Bond’s impressive showing in the cup wasn’t enough to put him ahead of Sam Johnstone.

That, therefore, leaves Bartley.

The 28-year-old is winning less aerial duels than Ajayi at 3.7 and has conceded more fouls than anyone else in the squad who have played regularly this season, averaging 1.7 per game.

Ahmed Hegazi is due to return from injury later this month, or in early October at the latest and is extremely likely to come back into the first-team fold immediately as he was a key player from last season – playing 40 games in the Championship.

He averaged a rating of 7.09, won 4.1 aerial duels and conceded far fewer fouls per game, per WhoScored.

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Article title: West Brom’s Kyle Bartley is at risk of being dropped as Ahmed Hegazi nears return

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