West Brom and Blackburn Rovers are two sides at the opposite end of the spectrum right now: the Baggies remain unbeaten so far this season, whilst Blackburn have already been defeated twice.
Blackburn will most likely be aiming for a solid mid-table finish this season, whereas Albion are undoubtedly seeking promotion, but if the latter want that to happen, three points need to be picked up soon, before heads start to drop.
A draw simply won’t do – there has to be more urgency from the players, and the game against Blackburn at the weekend is a chance to show just that.
As for the two teams, West Brom have a much stronger side overall, but there are a few areas that Blackburn Rovers show great strength in, which makes the concept of a combined eleven an interesting one.
With that said, let’s see what a merged squad would look like:
GK - Sam Johnstone
He continues to face undue criticism on a weekly basis but his performances prove just how valuable he is in-between the sticks for West Brom. Blackburn’s Walton was in with a good shout for this position as well, but Johnstone edges it for me.
RB - Darnell Furlong
Darnell Furlong and Nathan Ferguson are two very adept right-backs at the Hawthorns and both are competing for that spot when matchday rolls around. However, due to his experience, you’d have to go with Furlong as the safer option for now.
Blackburn’s right-backs are arguably nowhere near as good.
CB - Semi Ajayi
An easy decision for centre-back, Semi Ajayi has been a rock so far this season for the Albion and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s a dead-cert to start on Saturday and is far better than Blackburn’s options.
CB - Kyle Bartley
This time last season, Kyle Bartley was on the fringe of the first-team but wasn’t really considered good enough to be a starter. Well, after Hegazi was injured, Bilic had no choice but to play Bartley, and what an incredible run of form he’s had.
Bartley’s composed at the back and a real threat at the front from set-pieces, which he showed with his headed goal against Millwall a couple of weeks back. Easy choice.
LB - Kieran Gibbs
Gibbs didn’t have the best of games against Derby last Saturday and even went off with a knock, but he seems to have recovered from both of those things and so will most likely be chosen to play against Blackburn.
As I’ve said before, Gibbs is one of the best left-backs in the league and should really be with a Premier League team, but, who knows, West Brom could be up there next season?
CM - Bradley Dack
Bradley Dack is a diamond in the rough at Blackburn and I was surprised that he didn’t leave them in the summer.
He’s an obvious choice for the midfielder role, and although he’d typically be placed in an attacking midfielder role, he could also do a job in the centre, too.
CM - Romaine Sawyers
Sawyers has been excellent since joining West Brom from Brentford and has been a key component in Albion’s robust midfield this season.
He has the potential to become one of the best midfielders in the league if he maintains his current form, but only time will tell.
RM - Matt Phillips
Phillips is a Premier League player, no question. He was always going to be an easy choice for this role.
CAM - Filip Krovinovic
Another outstanding player at this level is Krovinovic, on-loan from Benfica. The Croatian has already shown how good he is countless times, and like some others in this list, could potentially become one of the best in their role in the Championship.
LM - Matheus Pereira
Matheus Pereira is a typical Brazilian trickster, making whichever full-back is marking him look like a fool when they lunge in and he inevitably darts past. He’s another player who could arguably do a decent job in the Premier League, so having him at this level is a huge boost for the Baggies.
ST - Ben Brereton
Brereton is a player who could compete for top scorer, if he’s given the chance to play by his manager. He was superb for Nottingham Forest, and so his move to Blackburn in January was a bit perplexing.
Albion’s striker situation is pretty dire at the moment. Charlie Austin is probably the best that the Baggies have, but his fitness levels are still in question.