#5 Filip KrovinovicEmbed from Getty Images
This one is not a given, as the Baggies are yet make Krovinovic’s switch to the Black Country permanent. If the move happens, though, we are sure Krovinovic will excel in the Premier League.
Two games demonstrate this: the FA cup games against West Ham and Newcastle United. Though these were not Premier League matches, they were the closest thing Albion had last season.
In the game against West Ham, Krovinovic drove the team forward throughout the game and played a crucial role in Townsend’s goal early on in the first half.
Against Newcastle, Krovinovic’s substitution at half time changed the game, allowing the Baggies to pull back two goals and set up a nervy finish for the Toon army.
Why is this? As we have already mentioned, Premier League games are quicker and more open, especially between mid-to-lower table sides. In the Championship this season, this is where Albion thrived.
Take the games against Milwall (0-2) and Blackburn Rovers (1-1): these open away games played right into Albion’s hands as wingers Pereira and Grady Diangana were afforded more space. This allowed Krovinovic time on the ball and allowed him to either create space for others, or for himself to take a shot.
And if Krovinovic signs, he is likely to occupy the No. 10 position in a 4-3-3 / 4-2-3-1 formation and drive the team forward as he so often did in the second half of the season.
Dark Horses: Charlie Austin & Matt PhillipsEmbed from Getty Images
Austin and Phillips had somewhat strange seasons. Austin did not score nearly as many goals as we would have expected; however, the goals that he did score were crucial in our promotion push.
His six substitute goals (the most in the division) against Birmingham City, Sheffield Wednesday, Preston North End and Wigan won the Baggies 10 points across five games.
Though he is not as prolific as he once was, Austin’s knack for being in the right place at the right time could just be the difference between Albion’s relegation and survival.
Phillips, on the other hand, started the season in unbelievable form. He scored against Nottingham Forest on the opening day and carried on his impressive form with goals against Blackburn Rovers and Huddersfield Town.
His form undoubtedly dipped after Christmas, though. This was primarily due to Filip Krovinovic’s role in Bilic’s new 4-3-3 system, which pushed Matheus Pereira out wide, replacing Phillips.
Even still, seven goals and five assists from a wide position is not a bad return, especially with a significant amount of time out of the team.
Phillips and Austin not only know the Premier League well, they know it is almost certainly their last chance to play in it. Let’s not write them off just yet.
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