West Brom continue to defy expectations and, following their 4-2 triumph over Sunderland, the Premier League’s higher reaches have left them in need of oxygen.
The Baggies occupy third place in the division after 13 games chasing only the Manchester giants and have shortened to 11/1 shots to secure a top-four berth come the season’s end.
Realistically, it’s hard to envisage this actually happening with many considering it a matter of time before the wheels come off for Steve Clarke’s men, but with three winnable home games to come against Stoke, West Ham and Norwich there’s nothing to suggest they won’t still be in the mix when Christmas rolls around.
The fixture list has been kind to West Brom this campaign with only one spell of difficult-looking games lumped together, which doesn’t occur until February. This gives them a genuine chance to keep their win column ticking over as they bid to maintain the five-point gap they have established over the would-be Champions League contenders.
Strong home form has been synonymous with the Baggies in recent seasons with poor showings on the road the thorn in their side.
Encouragingly, they seem to have to addressed this issue to a certain extent as they have supplemented their typically formidable form at the Hawthorns with some valuable points on their travels too.
Their win at the Stadium of Light was their second on the spin after drawing games at Spurs and Villa, while the most fortunate injury-time goals cost them a point at Newcastle.
Although they benefitted from two generous hand-outs from Lady Luck in claiming the spoils on Wearside, the sheer pace boasted in the final third makes them a huge threat on the counter attack and with Shane Long, Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku all vying for starting spots they’ve got goals in abundance.
Perhaps the top-four is a bridge too far, but they definitely have the credentials to fight for a top-six finish at least and all sceptics should take a look at Newcastle’s refusal to implode last time around before writing the high-flying Baggies off.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date