West Brom are facing relegation
West Bromwich Albion’s season hasn’t been quite as disastrous as Derby County’s in 2007/08 when they tallied just 11 points, but the Baggies are still staring down the barrel of almost certain relegation ahead of today’s Premier League clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
With that said, there have been some incredible great escapes from the drop down the years, with Portsmouth pulling off a miracle in 2005 under Harry Redknapp.
With the financial backing of Milan Mandarić, Redknapp bought the likes of Benjani Mwaruwari, Andrés D’Alessandro, Pedro Mendes, Wayne Routledge and Sean Davies to turn around what seemed like an impossible situation.
With 10 games to go, Pompey were 10 points clear of safety in 19th place, but managed six wins and two draws to survive.
Yet the tale of the tape at the Hawthorns is even more gloomy – the club are rock bottom with a 10-point gap between themselves and Crystal Palace and just five matches to play, including today’s encounter.
Should they fail to pick up their first win away from home since beating Burnley 1-0 in August last year, in all probability the West Midlands outfit will be relegated. In addition, the success over the Clarets is the only away win in 2017/18.
When you factor in that Albion last won at the Theatre of Dreams in 2015 when Louis van Gaal was in charge of an underwhelming United, it appears it is mission impossible for caretaker coach Darren Moore’s men.
Preparation for life in England’s second tier is seemingly already under way as, aside from Alan Pardew’s relatively recent exit following abysmal form, the club parted ways with technical director Nick Hammond last week.
Hammond had helped pick Pardew and was responsible for the hiring and firing of six different coaches since 2011. The 50-yearold follows chairperson John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman out of the door.
While the mood in the camp was slightly brightened by the 1-1 draw with Swansea City the last time out under Moore, the ugly spectre of Jay Rodriguez’s racial abuse charge hangs over West Brom, with the striker seemingly in trouble for words said to Brighton & Hove Albion’s Gaëtan Bong in a game in January.
Nevertheless, there have been miraculous performances by dead and buried teams over the years against the biggest clubs in England.
In the 2006/07 season, West Ham United produced a shock as they beat United at Old Trafford courtesy of a Carlos Tevez strike, which led to the Hammers staying up at the expense of Sheffield United.
In 2015/16, Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland stunned Chelsea 3-2 in a result that saved them from the drop at Newcastle United’s expense.
However, José Mourinho’s Red Devils have lost just once at home in this campaign to champions-elect Manchester City, and have beaten Liverpool and Chelsea in their last three outings in Greater Manchester. It appears the visitors from Staffordshire need nothing short of a miracle to win and then go on and avoid the drop.
BACK Paul Pogba will be hoping to continue where he left off against rivals City last weekend
GOING DOWN West Bromwich Albion caretaker manager Darren Moore has an impossible task ahead of him