West Brom soaring thanks to Jonny Evans, Salomon Rondon, Tony Pulis
As we approach the turn of the year, it's time to take a look at how West Brom have fared so far in 2016-17.
What can Tony Pulis' men expect between now and May? Here's how the season has gone so far.
The main positive this season has to be the way Pulis has got his side playing. He's finally taken the handbrake off his players and they're reaping the benefits, with West Brom having much better home form than last season and in the top half for goals scored.
The return from injury of long-serving Chris Brunt and James Morrison has undoubtedly helped this, with the duo looking fitter than ever. They are still two of the squad's most technically gifted players and West Brom pass the ball far better and with more purpose with them in the side. The fact that Brunt is being used in a more advanced position is also a positive; his talent was being wasted in the left-back position.
With seven goals to his name already, Salomon Rondon is certainly reaping the benefits of West Brom's more attacking approach to games.
The plight of Saido Berahino continues to cast a shadow over both the player and the club. Berahino was once again left frustrated as he failed to get a move away from the club in the summer transfer window and has had no impact whatsoever on West Brom's season. Berahino has now found himself overtaken in the pecking order by new signing Hal Robson-Kanu, while Jonathan Leko is arguably a more important member of the first-team squad than the striker now.
The main reason it's such a negative is because of the sheer amount of talent Berahino possesses. Having a striker like him available would make West Brom an even bigger threat, while Berahino would undoubtedly benefit from the service that Rondon now receives from the likes of Nacer Chadli and Matt Phillips, something that he hasn't been fortunate enough to have since he broke into the first-team squad.
Despite the improved attacking play, Jonny Evans has undoubtedly been the standout player. Evans had an excellent first season at The Hawthorns but was moved around a lot by Pulis to cover other problem positions, such as left-back and holding midfield. For the majority of this season, Evans has been at the heart of the defence and hasn't put a foot wrong. He's a great organiser, he's calm under pressure and his ability to bring the ball out from the back really helps West Brom going forward.
The partnership he has forged with international teammate Gareth McAuley is one of the best in the Premier League and while there are a few players who have laid their claim for this accolade at times, none have had Evans' consistency. Chadli started his Hawthorns career like a house on fire, with two goals and an assist on his home debut against West Ham. This was part of a run of four goals in his first five games, but an injury has curtailed his progress. Phillips started off the season poorly but he's been absolutely outstanding in driving West Brom forward over the past month.
Brendan Galloway has made only three appearances since joining on loan from Everton and looks set to join Serge Gnabry and Alex Pritchard on the list of young players who've had no impact at The Hawthorns after signing temporary deals.
Galloway had a promising debut in an otherwise turgid 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough at home, where he was arguably the biggest threat going forward. However, he looked suspect defensively in all of his appearances, getting caught out of position by either being too far up the pitch or getting caught underneath the ball. This ultimately led to a 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth and the loanee hasn't started a game since.
Galloway's struggles have led to fellow new signing Allan Nyom taking his place on the left despite being a right-back by trade. The former Watford man is a powerful runner, albeit not providing the same level of quality that Galloway was capable of. However he is much more experienced and reliable defensively than the Everton youngster, who is obviously still learning the defensive aspect of the position.
Pulis is fairly reluctant to trust younger players, so there is no shame in Galloway failing to make an impression in his spell at The Hawthorns.
Predicted finish: Pulis to finally break his duck and finish in the top 10, with a cup run thrown in for good measure.
Matthew Evans is ESPN FC's West Brom blogger. You can follow him on Twitter @MattEvansWBA.