Well, the dream is over. All West Brom fans held their breath as they watched the highly anticipated Swansea City vs Southampton game and were begging for a draw between the two sides. While still a long shot, their relegation would have at least been saved till the last day, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
They had done the hard work. They’d beaten Tottenham in the last minute to keep going, and the momentum was well and truly with them going in to the final matchday where they will face Crystal Palace, an easily winnable game. But Manolo Gabbiadini’s 72nd minute goal sealed their fate, and despite their best efforts, West Brom will be spending the 18/19 season in the Championship.
Whether the Baggies come back to the Premier League in one year or not, they’ll always remember the last few weeks of this season as an inspiring window looking in to what could have been. If we’re to believe Simon Stone (and we should), Darren Moore is not interested in taking on the full-time manager role at West Brom, which would be a massive shame, but also could be the best thing for Moore’s career.
Moore became only the second black man to win Manager of the Month (the first, Chris Hughton, also coming this season), which was a massive win for the FA’s Rooney Rule. Leaving West Brom could open up doors for him as a first team coach at a club in the top half of the Premier League or even in the top six.
Managerial roles aren’t for everybody, and while Moore has proven that he can handle the weight of management put on his shoulders by the abysmal failings of Alan Pardew, he may prefer the more hands-on role of coaching.
We’ve seen many excellent first team coaches and assistant managers go on to fail at management and never return to coaching. Rene Meulensteen and Mike Phelan were a huge part of some of the best Manchester United sides ever assembled, but they simply couldn’t cut the mustard at the managerial level.
West Brom may well benefit from a completely fresh start anyway. A manager that can bring new ideas and a new staff is what that club needs. The last thing a relegated club needs is “more of the same,” and they’ve shown progress from Alan Pardew’s tenure, but taking it one step further and hiring somebody with proven Championship experience could help them.
Despite suffering relegation with Sunderland, Chris Coleman could do a decent job with backing from the Chairman as the Baggies actually have a decent squad barring any big departures. Sunderland’s problem was the fact that they’re well and truly shite.
Overall, an unsuccessful season for West Brom that they will look back on with pride (at least the last few weeks) and hopefully use their momentum going in to next season. May they bounce right back.
Elsewhere, Chelsea kept their top four hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Liverpool, setting up a mouthwatering final day of the season. Chelsea’s 1-0 win practically cemented Manchester United’s spot in 2nd place (which they confirmed with a 0-0 draw vs West Ham on Thursday), but with Tottenham winning, Liverpool drop to 4th place, just two points ahead of Chelsea.
Liverpool only need to draw against Brighton on the final day to confirm Champions League football for next season (due to the overwhelming goal difference separating the Reds with Chelsea). A Liverpool loss and a Chelsea win would put the Reds in a tough spot, leaving them 5th and having to win the Champions League against Real Madrid to qualify for the competition next season.
Elsewhere at the bottom of the table, Swansea City look like the favorites to follow West Brom and Stoke City to the Championship next season, but with Southampton welcoming Manchester City to St. Mary’s Stadium, the ten-goal swing needed to save Swansea would definitely not be out of the question.
Swansea play already-relegated Stoke at home, and could flip the script if everything goes their way.
Also next week, I’ll reveal my (probably terribly wrong) Premier League Prediction Table where, if you remember, I predicted Crystal Palace would finish bottom of the league. They’re currently 11th.
See you next week!
Ryan Oldham is a Manchester native and a lifelong supporter of Manchester United. He knows far more about English Premier League football than you do, and therefore was selected to write a weekly update on the most popular professional sports league in the world. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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