Can West Brom avoid the drop this season?
West Brom are facing a huge risk of relegation this season. The Baggies were among the clubs to be promoted to the Premier League this season but now look very unlikely to survive in the top-flight. Their squad lacks match winners and Slaven Bilic’s last Premier League journey ended with him getting the sack at West Ham.
Since matchday one, West Brom have pretty much languished near the bottom of the table. The highest they have climbed the table was 17th place on matchweek three and stayed there for another three gameweeks. They sunk to the relegation places after that and since matchweek 11, they have been in 19th place (h/t Transfermarkt).
Midway through the season, the club went ahead and sacked Slaven Bilic and appointed Sam Allardyce. ‘Big Sam’ was brought in to stem the bad run of results and pull off the ultimate escape.
Currently, they find themselves 12 points from safety, with Sheffield United just one point below them. There are a few factors that could determine if Allardyce can really pull off a miracle with this side and avoid the drop.
The January signings
On their return to the Premier League, West Brom went out and brought in the likes of Karlan Grant, Branislav Ivanovic, Grady Diangana, Matheus Pereira, Callum Robinson and Connor Gallagher. Of all those players, only Diangana, Pereira and Gallagher have impressed.
That made West Brom dip back into the January market to find suitable players at the right prices. West Brom made use of loan deals and in came the likes Okay Yokuslu, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mbaye Diagne, and Robert Snodgrass. Only Snodgrass was a permanent signing, with the rest arriving on temporary deals.
Since their arrival, West Brom have fared much better in areas they looked wanting. The new players have helped the side in various ways and will have to play vital roles in the remaining games if they are to help West Brom stay up.
With 24 fixtures already played, West Brom have another 14 to make the most out of. They have picked up 13 points so far and are likely to need 22 more if they are to survive the drop. Over the last 10 years, 35 is the average tally of points by teams avoiding relegation.
The lowest survival tally was 33, back in 2014. Nonetheless, 23 points from a possible 42 is a bit of a stretch. West Brom do have a mixed run of games left in the remaining few months.
They have some games against big names like Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, and Leicester. While getting points against these sides might seem difficult, they need to get something from these games. The 1-1 draw vs Manchester United is one result they must take confidence from.
The games against Aston Villa, Leeds, West Ham, Southampton, and Wolves are likely to be tricky but not entirely difficult. Lastly, there are four fixtures that they absolutely need to get maximum points out of.
Those four games start with facing Burnley this weekend and then Brighton, Newcastle, and Crystal Palace. These matches are vital considering all these sides are just above West Brom in the table. Getting maximum points here could go a long way towards securing top-flight status.
It seems a little too late for the Baggies to turn their season around but the man at the helm has an unusual record – he has never been relegated from the Premier League.
Allardyce is a master in saving teams from relegation, as he has proven over the years. He will need to summon those powers and more this time.
Apart from their own results, West Brom will need those around them to falter. They will need the likes of Newcastle, Burley, Brighton, and Palace to slip up and hope that Sheffield United and Fulham don’t get a spring in their step.
It looks like a gargantuan feat right now given the circumstances but if they are to pull off this escape, they will need everything to work in their favour and more. It’s not impossible but it does look a whole lot difficult.