It has largely been a disappointing season for West Midlands clubs. Coventry City slipped into League Two, while Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Walsall had to settle for lower mid-table finishes.
Despite their waning form, West Bromwich Albion appear to be the only success story with the opportunity to finish in the top-half of the Premier League.
By selecting a maximum of THREE players from each side, here is our West Midlands XI for the 2016/7 campaign:
Ben Foster – West Bromwich Albion
Ben Foster has enjoyed arguably his finest season at the Hawthorns.
Although Foster has not kept as many clean sheets as he’d like (6), the former Birmingham City goalkeeper has turned in some incredible individual performances throughout the Baggies’ campaign. This included incredible saves against Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth, Swansea City and Manchester United.
Jason McCarthy – Walsall
The versatile defender was ever-present in league and cup for the Saddlers this season.
McCarthy, who was on-loan from Premier League club Southampton, won the admiration of the Bescot faithful after a nervy start to life in League One. He also chipped in with five goals, including a quick-fire brace in the 3-3 draw with Bury.
Jonathan Grounds – Birmingham City
Left-back is probably the most difficult position to select in this XI.
Tony Pulis still doesn't have a natural left-back at West Brom, while Aston Villa drafted in Swansea City’s Neil Taylor in January. Grounds just gets the nod after he was praised for his early season form under Gary Rowett and scored in the Blues’ crucial win against Huddersfield Town.
Jonny Evans – West Bromwich Albion
From a difficult pick to the easiest pick in this XI.
Jonny Evans has continued his classy form in a West Bromwich Albion shirt. The Northern Ireland international will surely garner more interest from European clubs in the summer.
James Chester – Aston Villa
This Evans-Chester partnership could have been a reality for West Brom had they not sold the Welshman to local rivals Villa.
Chester quickly recovered from his underwhelming Albion stint to become a key clog in Aston Villa’s starting-eleven. The 28-year-old was handed the captain’s armband back in November and Villa went on to win seven of their next 11 games.
Dave Edwards – Wolverhampton Wanderers
Dave Edwards’ best season as a Wolves player saw his goal-scoring tally reach double figures. The 31-year-old scored in wins over Bristol City, Queens Park Rangers, Barnsley and Fulham.
David Davis – Birmingham City
Likewise, David Davis stepped up to the plate during a difficult 2017 for Birmingham City. He also delivered goals in the crunch derby games against Villa and Wolves.
Mile Jedinak – Aston Villa
Jedinak has proved to be an important player under Steve Bruce.
After failing to win a game in his first seven appearances, the experienced Australian bounced back to help curve Villa’s woeful early season form. His return from injury in February coincided with a run of seven wins out of nine for Villa.
Matt Phillips – West Bromwich Albion
West Brom’s improved fortunes in front of goal – at least in earlier stages of the season – can mainly be attributed to the pace, skill and delivery of Matt Phillips. The long-time Albion transfer target has added four goals and eight assists to his teams cause so far. Phillips has been sorely missed in recent months through injury.
Helder Costa – Wolverhampton Wanderers
Costa could be on his way to the Premier League following an eye-catching debut season in English football. He grabbed 10 goals and eight assists in 35 outings for Wolves.
Jonathan Kodjia – Aston Villa
The top scorer in the West Midlands rounds off this XI. Jonathan Kodjia paid back his hefty price-tag by netting 19 Championship goals for Villa following his arrival from Bristol City.
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