Former Aston Villa forward Gabby Agbonlahor believes West Bromwich Albion’s return to the Premier League will be a ‘formality’ this season, speaking to Football Insider after Saturday afternoon’s win at Blackburn Rovers.
The Baggies scored within a minute at Ewood Park at the weekend, with Alex Mowatt firing a volley into the top corner before Matt Phillips made it two on the stroke of half-time.
Despite conceding early on in the second half to Chilean international Ben Brereton Diaz, Valerien Ismael’s side were dominant in the game and managed to hold on to all three points, continuing their unbeaten start to the Championship campaign.
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They have been victorious over Luton Town, Sheffield United and Tony Mowbray’s men since drawing 2-2 away at promotion rivals AFC Bournemouth on the opening day of the season, putting four past the Blades in their highlight of the season so far and looking ruthless going forward.
Although there is the appetite to bring a new forward in with Ismael’s former man Daryl Dike and Manchester City’s Liam Delap both previously being linked with a move to The Hawthorns, their existing players including Callum Robinson have been in fine form and look set to continue in the same vein.
Ex-Villa forward Agbonlahor believes the Baggies and Marco Silva’s Fulham, who have also won ten points from their opening three games, will be promoted at the end of the season ahead of fellow favourites Sheffield United who have started the season poorly.
Speaking to Football Insider, the 34-year-old said: “I think it is a formality (West Brom going up).
“I’m sure West Brom and Fulham will go up this season. I think they will finish in the top two because their squads are very strong.
“They both have great managers as well so I can see both of them returning to the Premier League straight away.”
West Bromwich Albion and Fulham have both got off to a wonderful start and with the strength of their respective squads, it’s no surprise to see Agbonlahor make this early-season prediction.
However, there are still 42 league games left to go in this campaign and we should also keep a watchful eye on the teams currently following closely behind the promotion-chasing duo.
With all the attention on West Brom and Fulham, Stoke City have gone completely under the radar, perhaps where they will want to stay as the Potters aim to vastly improve on their league finishes in the past three campaigns.
Michael O’Neill’s side also have ten points on the board, with dark horses QPR currently in the top six and AFC Bournemouth just two points off the top of the table. And with a Sheffield United side under the stewardship of Slavisa Jokanovic, you can never rule out a late promotion push even after failing to win any of their first four matches.
However, West Brom have adapted to Valerien Ismael’s system very well in a short space of time and with things already clicking at The Hawthorns, they will be right up there with Fulham throughout the 2021/22 season.