Blog: 10 reasons why West Bromwich Albion can remain in the Premier League

Anger, exasperation, indignation and sheer gut-wrenching despair - Albion fans will be familiar with these emotions after last weekend's painstaking 3-3 home draw with Cardiff City,

writes Albion blogger Warren Stephens.

Why didn't Saido Berahino just run the ball into the corner? Why did four Albion players join a counter-attack whilst we were leading 3-2 in the 95th minute? Why did the last Cardiff cross reach the feet of two attackers and not the five Albion defenders awaiting it? I'd hazard a guess that many of us spent the rest of the weekend asking ourselves those questions repeatedly.

Such was the timing, not to mention the self-destructive nature, of Mats Moller Daehli's crushing injury-time blow, it was initially difficult not to believe that it carried much greater significance than the loss of 2 points. Would that represent our last clear opportunity to secure victory in an increasingly marginal relegation scrap? Only time will tell.

However, Crystal Palace's shock success against Chelsea aside, results seemingly went in Albion's favour and after a couple of desolate, melancholic days of reflection, I've managed, perhaps naively, to convince myself that all is not lost. The cynics amongst you will have great fun pulling the thread-bare reasoning beneath to pieces but what option do we have, other than to be positive?

Here are ten reasons why we have to keep believing that Albion can scrape through this mess and retain our Premier League status:


Albion are struggling, the team looks disfunctional and we're in a real scrap. Yet, ironically, the support's as vociferous as it's been at any point during the last three seasons, the majority of which were spent achieving comparative success. The return of 'The Liquidator' helped against Cardiff (let's hope it wasn't a one-off, as has been suggested), but our support was also good at Hull, Swansea, Palace and Villa. Another sell-out following at Norwich on Saturday can only help.

The dressing room is obviously not a picture of harmony, Saido Berahino's bruises are testament to that, but if general reports are to be believed, there is a core of senior players desperate to avoid relegation. Whether that be because of Jeremy Peace's layered contract policy or because they genuinely feel an attachment to the club, who knows and does it really matter? There were aspects of the performance on Saturday, and indeed the supposed reactions in the dressing room afterwards, that imply that a lot of players do care. If we can channel that emotion in the right way going forward, we have a chance.


It's difficult to argue against the notion that we are where we are because we haven't scored enough goals - before Saturday, only 5 Premier League teams had scored less. We never really replaced Romelu Lukaku and Peter Odemwingie and have subsequently struggled to break teams down. We lack pace, craft and presence in the attacking third and too often, a lion's share of possession hasn't been reflected in final scorelines. However, admittedly against a poor Cardiff back line, we scored three times. We scored two at Swansea and have found the net in every game but one since Pepe Mel's arrival. If can thread together a bit of belief, perhaps a little more conviction in the final third - or at least a willingness to gamble and attack a cross - might follow.


West Brom's Jonas Olsson, left
West Brom's Jonas Olsson, left

The big man's back this week. It's often only when Olsson's not in the side that we realise how important a player he is. I like Craig Dawson and I want him to succeed at the Albion, but he'll be disappointed with Hull's first and Cardiff's second goals. Jonas's presence can give everybody a lift.


6 games left and 24 points. Their remaining fixtures don't look particularly unkind, but having surrendered so meekly in 'must-win' games at Cardiff and at home to Everton, you have to wonder where their points are coming from. 3 wins and a draw would be a generous return given their current form, yet even that would leave them only on 34 points. Do Fulham genuinely believe they can still stay up?


If any of you watched Sunderland's game against West Ham on Monday night, you might have shared the same thoughts that went through my mind: 'Blimey, these are even worse than us'. I'm not sure they'd have scored an equalizer if the game was still being played now and West Ham at home, was very much a defining fixture for them in the same way that Cardiff might have been deemed as for us. Their game in hand on us is at Manchester City, they also still have to face Spurs, Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United.


Saturday was obviously a huge opportunity to bury Cardiff and one we may live to severely regret, however would you rather be in our position or theirs? Our vastly superior goal difference means they're effectively 4 points behind having played a game extra. If we only win 1, draw 2 and lose 4 of our remaining fixtures, they'll still have to either win 2 and draw 3, or win 3 of their remaining 6 games to overhaul that deficit. Their fixtures aren't unkind and they can score goals, but they've also conceded 17 goals in their last 6 Premier League games. Albion's fate may very well rest in their hands.

West Bromwich Albion's Youssouf Mulumbu and Cardiff City's Jordon Mutch (right) battle for the ball
West Bromwich Albion's Youssouf Mulumbu and Cardiff City's Jordon Mutch (right) battle for the ball

After our trip to Carrow Road on Saturday, Norwich have a trip to Craven Cottage, which is a particularly unkind hunting ground for them. They were relegated there on the infamous 'Survival Sunday' where we achieved the Great Escape and have suffered some heavy defeats there in recent seasons. If, a big if obviously, we can avoid defeat at Norwich this weekend and remain in touching distance of them after 34 games, their last 4 fixtures read Liverpool (h), Manchester United (a), Chelsea (a) and Arsenal (h).


They may well end up being the reason we get relegated, however if you're drawing you're not losing. I was surprised to hear that we've only lost one Premier League game at the Hawthorns in 4 months. With Tottenham - a prospect currently less frightening than it might have been last season or earlier in this - West Ham and Peter Odemwingie's Stoke (I know, it's Stoke, but this is supposed to be a positive blog) to come, they may drag us over the line.


Astounding one minute and anonymous the next, the likes of Stephane Sessegnon and Morgan Amalfitano were signed because they can beat players, change games and turn 0 points into 1 or 1 into 3. Yet in the main, neither has threaded together a consistent run of games. We saw glimpses of what both could do on Saturday, yet even after his sublime goal, Amalfitano's contribution was minimal. If one of these players can piece it together now, when we most need it, it might be the bit of quality that separates us from those beneath.


This isn't really a valid reason, I know, and better sides than us have been relegated before. However, unlike years gone by, this doesn't feel like Albion's time for the dreaded drop. As disfunctional as we've been, there is still a sprinkling of good Premier League players in the squad, still a future for Pepe Mel to plot, a summer of rebuilding and still a medium-term sustainability for Albion as a Premier League club. Losing that status would almost certainly bring the curtain down on the Albion careers of the likes of Ben Foster, Jonas Olsson, Claudio Yacob and Youssouf Mulumbu, an almost unthinkable scenario that would arguably set the club back about 5 years.


As painful and unrewarding as it may prove to be, we have to keep on supporting and try and drag the team over the line. A positive result on Saturday at Carrow Road would be a great place to start. Come on you Baggies!!!!

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