It’s around this point in the season when things usually start to become very clear as to who’s going to finish where in the Championship. The English second division is so often one of the most difficult leagues in the world to predict, but as things stand it’s hard to see West Brom not gaining promotion.
If the Baggies do make it out of the Championship after 46 games have been played then they’ll find themselves back in the Premier League, mixing against the likes of Aston Villa and Wolves in local derbies as well as the big guns such as Manchester City and Liverpool.
However, according to former goalscorer and one of the 28 members of the Premier League 100 hundred club, Darren Bent, the Baggies are already in a position where they can compete in the Premier League.
The ex-Aston Villa and England striker has claimed, whilst talking to Football Insider, that a lot of the players at The Hawthorns would be capable of making a ‘seamless transition’ to top-flight football from the Championship, saying:
‘There’s a couple of them who could make the step up to the Premier League, there’s a fair few of them.’
‘Pereira, he’s got great feet, can play that number ten role. I’m a big fan of his, he seems to be getting better and better, I think he’s got the right manager who really believes in him.
“When you’ve got Romaine Sawyers in there behind you protecting you, it makes you play. I think if West Brom do go up, yeah they have to add one or two but they’ve got the nucleus of a team who can compete in the Premier League.’
Will Slav guide West Brom back to the Premier League?
It’s hard to disagree with Bent either. Now 35-years-old, the striker has made a seamless transition of his own from player to pundit and his assessment of West Brom’s squad is hard to disagree with. The Baggies haven’t got one man carrying them through games, yet they’ve got a wonderful blend of individual quality and a collective balance.
The likes of Matheus Pereira, Grady Diangana and Matt Phillips so often grab headlines, but Slaven Bilic’s side find themselves 4th for average possession in the division, 1st for aerial duels won, 2nd for pass accuracy and have lost the least games in the league (WhoScored), so it’s easy to see where Bent is coming from.