Why winless West Brom are real relegation dark horses


West Brom can be thankful for Newcastle, Sunderland and Aston Villa’s existence, for if it wasn’t for that sorry trio, the Baggies may just be relegation favourites in the Premier League.

As it is, Ladbrokes make the Midlands side a 10/3 chance for the drop this term, rating both Bournemouth and Norwich as more likely to fall through the trap door.

The bookmaker’s confidence is great for those looking to invest some hard earned on Tony Pulis’ men, as their current price looks to be dripping in value given the side’s current form.

West Brom head in to the international break in 17th place in the league, just four points ahead of the dreaded dotted line.

Many fans have welcomed the brief hiatus from domestic competition as a chance for their Welsh manager to iron out considerable kinks in the side’s strategy.

Pulis’ defence-first preference looked to be the perfect formula for success against Villa, as his charges carved out opportunity after opportunity and claimed a deceptively-tight 1-0 win.

Since then, those same tactics have seen the club fall 3-0 away to Norwich in the Capital One Cup and 2-0 at Selhurst Park most recently.

In between, a vibrant first hour at home to Everton was undone by a jittery final 30 minutes as they capitulated to a 3-2 defeat.

That makes it three straight losses in all competitions for the Baggies, each one pushing the Villa success further to the back of the memory and prompting more supporters to question Pulis’ methods.

Some fan forums floated the idea of sacking Pulis over the international break in order to nab the unattached Nigel Pearson, but Ladbrokes make the former Stoke man an unlikely 25/1 to be the next top-flight boss to lose his job.

Dreadful home form – West Brom have the joint-worst record in the division – along with a horror run of games when the top-flight returns do little to help the side’s survival fortunes.

An already must-win outing against Sunderland awaits them first up, with Norwich, Leicester, Man Utd, Arsenal, West Ham, Tottenham and Liverpool lined up as the next seven on an unforgiving schedule.

By the time that thorny path has been negotiated, West Brom fans may just have their new-manager wish.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.