A win against Sheffield Wednesday this week is crucial if Albion want to spark some momentum leading into the final few games of the season.
The 1-0 loss to Brentford last week will have given fans reason to panic, but if three points can be taken from the Hillsborough Stadium on Wednesday it will be a huge relief for everyone.
Albion are currently in second place on 71 points, whilst Leeds’ victory against Fulham pushed them ahead to 74. With Brentford getting the upper hand on Friday, they now sit just four points behind the Baggies and pose a serious threat of catching up soon.
Slaven Bilic’s men haven’t scored a goal in four matches — an incredibly worrying statistic for a team aiming for automatic promotion.
Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday sit 13th in the table on 52 points, and although they picked up a win against Bristol City on Sunday, it should be noted that Bristol are a side completely out of form, so it isn’t as great a victory as it sounds.
Albion should go into the upcoming game with confidence because, despite a lack of momentum, the Baggies are, both on paper and on the field, a better side than Sheffield Wednesday.
That said, how might Slaven Bilic alter the team who lost to Brentford on Friday? Here are the changes he might make:
Sam Johnstone retains his usual place between the sticks, behind a typical back four of Kieran Gibbs, Ahmed Hegazi, Semi Ajayi and Darnell Furlong; this has been the strongest combination throughout the season so Bilic is likely to opt for this system again.
In front of the defence will probably sit Jake Livermore, even though he was arguably Albion’s worst player against Brentford — the reason for his selection will be due to consistency, which Bilic insists is the key to getting results.
Playing just ahead of Livermore could be Romaine Sawyers, whose playing style is deceivingly languid and ponderous — when he gets the chance, he can split a defence with a lethal through-ball and turn the game on its head immediately. He also offers his team a lot defensively, and will probably roam alongside Livermore with that duty.
In an attacking midfielder role could be Filip Krovinovic; the Croatian only played briefly in the second-half of the match against Brentford, so will have the fitness levels required to start this game from the off.
On the wings may be Callum Robinson, replacing Grady Diangana who looked out of sorts against Brentford; and Matheus Pereira, who has been outstanding all season, will replace Matt Phillips, another player who also had a howler on Friday.
Up front should be Charlie Austin. Kenneth Zohore and Hal Robson-Kanu have had ample opportunities as of late to prove their worth, but both have a tendency to drift and become anonymous as a lone striker. A player like Austin is crucial because he’s more than capable of creating his own opportunities, and doesn’t rely so heavily on service from teammates.