By Joe Harker
West Bromwich Albion are bottom of the Premier League table and on their second manager for the season, having sacked Tony Pulis and replaced him with Alan Pardew. Their league campaign started with consecutive victories, but currently have just one victory in the other 24 games of the season. They face the current champions Chelsea, who have their own problems but are expected to win the match. While there may seem like plenty of the season left to go, West Brom will need to find something quickly if they are to survive.
The win against Brighton is not enough for West Brom to stay up and it is Pardew's only league win since taking over in December. Perhaps more encouraging was the cup victory over Liverpool, but even that has not led to an upturn in results. They have the ability to defeat teams fighting for survival and those who want to play in the Champions League but the wins seem more like the exceptions that prove the rule. West Brom are not playing well enough to stay up and relegation is the punishment that awaits.
Perhaps hoping to refresh his players and give them a chance to approach the remaining games of the season with a new outlook, Pardew will take his players to Spain around 12 hours after the Chelsea game for warm weather training. The manager hopes it will galvanise his side into a new and improved run of form. He said: "At any point of the season, this would be an important period, but certainly where we are it is.
"All I do know is at some point this team needs to win three games out of three or three games out of four. We're capable of doing that, if I didn't think we were then I would worry."
Oddly enough West Brom might have reason to celebrate going up against Chelsea as their manager Antonio Conte is under pressure. While the bottom club in the Premier League may seem like the perfect opponents for a boss in a bad position there have been several managers sacked just after playing the Baggies. Mick McCarthy, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, Paolo Di Canio, Chris Hughton and Craig Shakespeare all had their marching orders after playing West Brom, with only Shakespeare not ending on a defeat. With Conte possibly facing the pressure a win for West Brom that seals his fate may just be part of a trend in the Premier League.