West Brom’s current position in the Premier League looks a safe one. In 13th place, Alan Irvine’s men are just five points off the top four.
At the same time, though, the Midlands side are only four points from the relegation zone. And their next five games may see them edge closer towards danger.
Irvine’s side have, of course, put up a strong fight against the likes of Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester United. But their next trip – to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – presents a different type of challenge. The Baggies should have ended Jose Mourinho’s then undefeated league run at home at Chelsea last season, when an unwarranted late penalty denied them victory. The Blues, though, are a different animal this term.
And West Brom’s following fixture sees them face Arsenal, although they will have home advantage. Irvine’s men will be at home once again after that – but again face a tough test against West Ham.
The two Premier League games after that, on paper at the very least, look much easier for the Baggies. A local derby at home to the out-of-form Aston Villa could be their best chance for points in the coming weeks, while they face Hull City prior to that. Steve Bruce’s side will be at the KC Stadium, however.
Things won’t get any easier for West Brom, then, but the longer term still looks bright considering the football Irvine has got the Midlands side playing. Although the Baggies could slide closer to the relegation zone over the next few games, top-flight survival looks very achievable.
A top-half finish or the like may be out of West Brom’s reach – but Irvine certainly has his men playing better than the likes of Villa, Crystal Palace, Burnley, Leicester & more right now.
Next 5 games:
West Ham (H)
Aston Villa (H)
Ultimate Outcome: Survival