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West Brom’s Matt Phillips already giving Slaven Bilic a flavour of what he can do

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’s pre-season preparations continued with a 4-0 win over Scunthorpe on Saturday afternoon as the Baggies put a disappointing 3-0 defeat against Villarreal a week previous behind them.

Albion weren’t at their best in the first half, failing to score, but words from new manager Slaven Bilic over the interval clearly worked a treat.

Matt Phillips, Filip Krovinovic and Hal Robson-Kanu were all on the score sheet in the second period.

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On the chalkboard

After West Brom’s loss against Villarreal, Bilic admitted that he wanted to play with two strikers in the upcoming season.

The arrival of Kenneth Zohore should help with that but once again, the boss played Oliver Burke as the main striker.

Beside him were Phillips and Kyle Edwards as the Croatian opted for a 4-3-3 formation.

And it was the former who shone, scoring twice as he put himself firmly to the forefront of Bilic’s mind.

The Scot scored either side of Krovinovic’s first goal for the club, guiding home a Conor Townsend cross before then finding the net with his head.

Phillips was in brilliant form throughout the first half of last season but an injury led to a troubled end to the campaign, failing to ever replicate the performances he showed previously.

Jimmy Shan started to play him in midfield but it was back in a more familiar role of on the flanks that he showed what he was capable of against Scunthorpe.

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The 28-year-old scored five goals whilst also claiming seven assists in 2018/19, but none of those goal contributions came after the New Year period.

He initially picked up an ankle injury in January with West Brom hoping for a February return but he then suffered a further setback in April.

It has been a bitterly disappointing 2019 so far for Phillips but in pre-season, he’s showing glimpses of getting back to his best.

For an Albion team who lacked much creativity after Harvey Barnes returned to Leicester, this should be hugely encouraging for Bilic and the Baggies.

Article title: West Brom’s Matt Phillips already giving Slaven Bilic a flavour of what he can do

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