AFC Bournemouth vs West Bromwich Albion preview: Form Guide, team news, H2H and how to watch
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Arnaut Danjuma of AFC Bournemouth celebrates after scoring their sides first goal during the Sky Bet Championship Play-off Semi Final 2nd Leg match between Brentford and AFC Bournemouth at Brentford Community Stadium on May 22, 2021 in Brentford, England. A limited number of fans will be allowed into the stadium as Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease in the UK. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Friday night's hosts failed to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking as they fell to play-off defeat in 2020/21, so West Bromwich Albion fans will be hoping that their heroes don't suffer the same fate as AFC Bournemouth.

Getting out of the EFL Championship, however, has proved to be a monumentally difficult task in recent years. Granted, Watford and Norwich City both bounced back last season, but the second tier of English football is notoriously difficult to navigate successfully.

It will be new Bournemouth manager, Scott Parker's first league game in charge of the Cherries and expectations are high following his decision to join the south coast club having left Fulham earlier in the summer.

  • Form guide

AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth played three matches in pre-season, with mixed results. The impressive win against Linese came before two extremely narrow 2-1 defeats to La Liga outfit Granada and reigning European champions, Chelsea.

There is reason, then, for Cherries fans to be optimistic about the season ahead after the 5-0 drubbing of MK Dons - the first competitive game of Parker's reign - in the Carabao Cup last weekend, but it will be a long slog if they are to return to the big time.

West Bromwich Albion

Like their hosts, West Brom faced off against sides four times in the build up to the 2021/22 campaign, but fared much better; going unbeaten in all of their encounters without conceding a single goal.

Defensive solidity has long been a trend, or focus, of the Baggies' play and victories over Woking (1-0), Sheffield Wednesday (2-0) and local rivals Birmingham City (4-0) made the 0-0 draw with Watford the icing on the cake.

In 2020/21, the Midlands club were immediately relegated after getting back into the Premier League the season before. Valerien Ismael's tenure will be an interesting watch after he guided Barnsley to a shock run into the play offs last season.

  • Team news

AFC Bournemouth

Philip Billing, who has attracted attention for Premier League side Norwich City, is fit and ready to go after scoring against MK Dons last week.

After Asmir Begovic finally completed his permanent move away from the club - to Everton - Mark Travers is expected to be their no.1 'keeper and be between the sticks for 2021/22's curtain-raiser.

West Bromwich Albion

Kyle Bartley recently signed a new contract and is expected to start.

Matt Phillips also penned a new deal this week and should feature at the Vitality Stadium.

Valerien Ismael is a huge fan of midfielder Robert Snodgrass who, unlike previous years, has come through pre-season unscathed and will therefore be included in the match day squad.

  • Last five meetings

Recent history between the two sides is very evenly matched, with both clubs claiming two wins from their last five encounters.

A 1-1 draw in May 2016 preceded a 1-0 win for Bournemouth in September that year before West Brom emerged victorious from both 2017 meetings with 2-1 and 1-0 wins before Jordon Ibe and Junior Stanislas bettered Jay Rodriguez's solitary strike to give the Cherries the win in what is the clubs' last Premier League face off.

  • Who to watch

Arnaut Danjuma - AFC Bournemouth

The Dutch winger enjoyed a sensational 2020/21 campaign - scoring 15 goals in 33 appearances - and, like Billing, has some big names sniffing around as the summer transfer window slowly draws to a close.

With pace and trickery in abundance, Arnaut Danjuma is one of the most feared attacking players in the division, and rightly so. West Brom have to keep him off his right foot or they could be in real trouble.

Karlan Grant - West Bromwich Albion

Karlan Grant's story is a funny one. After joining Huddersfield Town from Charlton Athletic in 2019 when he found the back of the net 23 times in 56 games, the striker has only notched once since moving to the Baggies. He is, however, a phenomenal Championship finisher and we can fully expect to see him near the top of the goal-scoring charts this season, if not at the summit.

  • How to watch

The game will be shown live on Sky Sports football, with the game kicking off at 19:45 BST.