This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
It didn’t take long, did it?
West Bromwich Albion returned to their top spot in the Championship table with an untroubling 2-0 victory over Stoke City on Monday night.
The west Midlanders were only knocked off their perch because the teams below them had played on Saturday afternoon, but now they have regained a two-point cushion over second-placed Preston North End.
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Either a sign of how competitive the league is or just how good West Brom are this season – or both.
After 15 matches in the second-tier of English football, the Baggies have earned 30 points, meaning they are averaging two points per game, which is almost like the proverbial barometer for promotion.
Though, that sort of chatter may have some substance after all.
If Albion can keep this up under manager Slaven Bilic, at the exact same rate for the rest of the season, then they will pick up a total of 92 points.
Last season, that figure would have beaten Sheffield United to the runner-up spot behind Norwich City so therefore they would have gained automatic promotion.
How does that compare to other seasons in recent history? Well, it’s majorly positive, so look away now if you can’t handle it West Brom fans.
A total of 92 points was even enough to clinch the title in 2015 as Bournemouth won it with two fewer points – that year, the Championship was quite fiercely competitive too as Watford, Norwich, and Middlesbrough were separated by just five points.
Just once in the last five seasons has that figure not been enough to secure top-flight status as both Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion managed more points in 2017.
In short, West Brom just need to keep doing what they are doing, and come May, they’ll be popping the champagne open at the Hawthorns following the full-time whistle against Queens Park Rangers.
It also just goes to show how good they’ve got it under Bilic – a phenomenal turn around in such a short period of time.