Not featuring amongst the Premier League’s elite since relegation at the end of the 2020-21 season, Carlos Corberan’s West Bromwich Albion could be about to break that hoodoo by returning to the top flight this campaign if everything goes smoothly.
The Baggies currently find themselves in a battle for the playoff spots, just outside those coveted positions on goal difference with Sunderland directly above Corberan’s men in sixth.
Losing last time out to Southampton 3-1, after three successive victories in the second tier, the Baggies will hope they can immediately bounce back with a victory versus Ipswich Town at the Hawthorns up next.
John Swift has been a standout performer in the centre of the park for the West Midlands club, scoring six times already with the 28-year-old providing that much-needed creative spark where Alex Mowatt and Nathaniel Chalobah are more adept at doing the dirty work in the middle.
However, a midfielder previously on the West Brom books is outperforming both Mowatt and Chalobah at this current point in time – former loanee Grzegorz Krychowiak joining in bewildering fashion in 2017 on loan, swapping the glamour of Paris Saint-Germain for the eventually relegated West Midlanders.
Why Krychowiak signed for West Brom
A move labelled as a “coup” at the time by West Brom manager Tony Pulis to bring him into England, the Polish defensive midfielder switching Ligue 1 for the Premier League on a season-long loan with Krychowiak falling out of favour in then-boss Unai Emery’s first-team plans at the Parc Des Princes.
Krychowiak failed to leave a lasting impression on fans at the Hawthorns and failed to live up to the hype surrounding him, moving back to PSG after an unmemorable year.
Krychowiak’s statistics at West Brom
The holding midfielder would make a total of 31 appearances for the Baggies in all competitions during his solitary season, registering three assists along the way.
The ex-Sevilla man would go from being a regular first-team presence at the Hawthorns – starting every minute of West Brom’s opening six top-flight matches – to being reduced down to a fringe player given fleeting opportunities here and there to impress.
It would even result in Krychowiak playing in an unorthodox attacking midfield role for his final ever Baggies match, Pulis unable to get the best out of his loanee and resorting to playing him wherever he deemed fit.
The 100-time Poland international has managed manage to revitalise his career after this odd spell at West Brom, with his current form in the Saudi Pro League with new club Abha particularly impressive.
Krychowiak’s statistics since leaving West Brom
Playing for a whole host of clubs since severing ties with the current Championship outfit – donning the colours of FC Lokomotiv Moscow and AEK Athens to name a few – the now 33-year-old has become a far more involved player when it comes to the attacking side of his game.
Scoring 23 times for Lokomotiv Moscow over 109 games, it’s with his new employers Abha where he’s also displaying this goalscoring flair that was non-existent in the Premier League.
With two goals and one assist this season in the Saudi Pro League, the ageing midfielder is interestingly outperforming Baggies duo Mowatt and Chalobah – the former with one goal and one assist, the latter with just a solitary assist.
It was the 33-year-old’s performance up against Al Akhdood that really stood out, the forceful nature of Krychowiak still present with seven of his ten ground duels won – as per Sofascore – but the 6 foot 1 midfielder was also regularly involved in waves of attacks which culminated in him scoring in the 3-2 win.
A forgotten figure to most now at the Hawthorns, Krychowiak is showing no signs of slowing down and is performing to the peak of his powers out in Saudi Arabia to close out his unique career.