Conor Townsend and Kieran Gibbs (LB)Embed from Getty Images
The left-back position was perhaps the most straightforward defensive position for Bilic this season: when Gibbs was fit, he started. The problem was, though, that for a large part of the season, he wasn’t fit.
Gibbs made just 14 appearances in the Championship, due to a recurring hamstring injury. When he played, he played well: he scored one goal and notched two assists. If only staying fit was so simple.
There was no need to panic, though, as Albion have in Conor Townsend an extremely reliable and consistent performer. With Townsend, there is not a single argument one can make against his passion, determination and commitment. He may not be the most technical left-back but he is defensively assured and solid.
In such a free-flowing, attacking side, Townsend offered much-needed defensive resilience when it mattered most.
Ratings: Gibbs 6/10, Townsend 7/10