West Bromwich Albion cemented their place at the top of the Championship with a 2-0 victory over Preston North End at the Hawthorns.
The Baggies were never really troubled by Preston who failed to register a single shot on target and ensured they ended the night seven points ahead of second-placed Leeds United.
Here we take a look at three things we learnt about West Brom following the encounter:
DEFENSIVE SOLIDITY IS RETURNING
With the attacking prowess at West Brom, the defence hasn’t really received the praise it has sometimes warranted. On occasions, they have looked sloppy and have made some basic errors but on the whole they are a good solid unit. They have struggled to keep as many clean sheets as they would have liked but this has changed in recent weeks. The Baggies have only conceded three goals in their last six league games and kept clean sheets in four of them highlighting the impressive nature of their defence. Semi Ajayi has been a fantastic addition to the back four and their solid foundations will be crucial for the rest of the campaign.
HAL ROBSON-KANU A STRIKER IN FORM
Hal Robson-Kanu has never been a prolific striker. In fact, with ten goals this season, this is his most prolific goalscoring campaign to date. However, it is the work he does off the ball which may have gone unnoticed by some but not everyone. Ex-players and pundits have highlighted the importance of his link-up play, running the channels and creating space for the rest of their attacking players as one of the main reasons for their impressive form. Although Robson-Kanu may not be a 25 goal a season striker in the Championship, he offers a huge amount of quality in other areas to this West Brom team.
STRENGTH IN DEPTH
The impressive form shown by the Midlands side is even more important considering the players they currently have missing from their team. Conor Townsend is playing the best football of his career at the right time with the injury to Kieran Gibbs who is building his fitness back up. Nathan Ferguson is a long-term absentee due to a knee injury but Dara O’Shea has been a fantastic addition from their academy setup. Grady Diangana had been in sensational form before his injury which reoccurred against Stoke City but with the arrival of Callum Robinson, this has injected further pace and a threat going forward. Those three absentees in particular had been instrumental for the Baggies but now it appears they will face a real challenge to get back into the team.