West Brom vs. Brighton (27th February)
Just like the previous two fixtures, this one speaks for itself. It is another relegation six-pointer.
Brighton seem to have more about them than Fulham and Sheffield United, as well as Albion themselves, but they are incredibly inconsistent.
Though they dominated during the first half in the reverse fixture at the Amex, Albion gave them a real run for their money in the second half, earning a well-earned point through Karlan Grant’s first and only goal for the club.
If Big Sam can pick up some points vs. Fulham and Sheffield United, this will definitely become his next prime target, with Spurs and Manchester United falling in-between. Is nine points in a month too much to ask of this side? Almost certainly, but two wins and a draw might be more realistic.
West Brom vs. Newcastle (6th March)
West Brom’s away fixture at Newcastle was another notable fixture this season for a number of reasons. Many surrounding Albion thought that Newcastle’s recent COVID-19 outbreak might result in a weaker team being fielded by Steve Bruce. Of course, this did not happen.
Newcastle also managed to score the quickest goal of the Premier League season so far in just 19 seconds.
Darnell Furlong responded with a fantastic strike but former Albion loanee Dwight Gayle won the game for the Magpies in the 80th minute. It ultimately sealed Bilic’s fate and so proved to be his penultimate game in charge.
Given that previous fixture’s notoriety, the reverse fixture will truly act as a marker of how far Albion have come under Allardyce. He will have been manager for over three months, January signings will be settled and hopefully more points will be on the board.
It is also the first fixture on this list not involving teams directly being threatened with relegation – it is all well and good targeting the six-pointers, but Albion must also dramatically improve in taking points off mid-table sides, even if in the form of a draw.
West Brom vs. West Ham (15th May)
This is Albion’s penultimate game of the season, final home game of the season and comes after a truly torrid run of fixtures. In the eight games preceding this fixture, Albion play Everton, Chelsea, Southampton, Leicester, Villa, Wolves, Arsenal and Liverpool – Albion have picked up two points vs. these sides in the six fixtures that have been played so far.
Though Albion’s record against the ‘bigger’ sides is formidable, you cannot rely on those fixtures and though West Ham are playing well this season, Albion must step it up in their final game of the season, with survival almost certainly depending on it (unless things go really wrong).
The Baggies will have two former Hammers in the ranks in Grady Diangana and Snodgrass, hopefully with a point to prove. If Albion can get a win here, then an away trip to Elland Road for the final fixture vs. Leeds could prove to be the most memorable in the club’s modern history.
The Black Country derbies: 16th January & 1st May
Aston Villa, part two: 24th April