We are six games into the season, and one of the teams that have made a near perfect start to the campaign is West Brom. The baggies have only suffered one defeat since the start of the season, and that was at Craven Cottage. Since Steve Clarke took over, he has introduced a passing style of football, but he has still kept our solid defence that Roy Hodgson introduced.
I must admit I had doubts about Steve Clarke becoming our new manager, simply because he hasn’t been a manager before. However, he has been the number two at West Ham, Liverpool and Chelsea. When I heard that Steve Clarke had been appointed our new manager, I instantly thought we were relegation contenders. However, I am glad to say that has has changed my view of him. I believe that we could possibly break into the top half of the table again.
Another positive for Clarke is that star striker Shane Long also came out saying he had doubts about Clarke being the new head coach. He said that it was a big drop in quality considering Jeremy Peace appointed Roy Hodgson just over a year before Clarke’s appointment. Long has said that he enjoys working with Clarke along with the rest of the squad, and that they enjoy the way they play and believe they can go onto bigger and better things in the future under the Scot.
The Scot has reiterated that the main objective for this season is to stay in the league and has told fans not to get carried away by their great run of form, which has saw them leap into fourth place, after their latest win come at the Hawthorns with a thriller against QPR. We have got 14 points out of a possible 21, we are over a third of they way to a the magic 40 point goal to stay safe, however, last season it only took 37 points to stay in the division.
I think we have got a better squad than last season with people coming in like Romelu Lukaku, Claudio Yacob and El Ghanassy. We have got Lukaku on loan from Chelsea for a season, because he wants to get first team football to break into the Chelsea team next year. Lukaku is a top striker, he is Champions League quality, and he has proven that when he was at Anderlecht. He has been compared to Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, and I have to say I believe he does have the potential to be as good as Drogba in years to come. He has strengthened our strike force which already included Odemwingie, Long and Fortune.
Another striker that has come through the door is Markus Rosenberg for nothing. On 7th August, he agreed a three year contract following his release from Werder Bremen. We beat Liverpool, QPR and Swansea to sign him so that just shows how much interest clubs shown while he was available. Rosenberg has proven he can score goals at clubs like Ajax and Werder Bremen, he has also scored six goals in 33 appearances for his country. He is a good signing because he likes to keep the play simple and can also offer a counter attacking threat. He can also drop into an attacking midfield role, so players such as Long can go further forward and grab some goals.
Clarke has also signed Claudio Yacob an a free transfer after he was released by Racing Club. Yacob on his debut was man of the match on the opening day of the season against Liverpool, I think that just shows he is an instant hit with the fans. We brought Yacob in to try and offer support or backup for Mulumbu, and he certainly does that because he is more defensive than Mulumbu and he lets the number 21 go forward more often. He is starting to come onto the international scene for Argentina, already gaining three caps for his country.
The best signing I think we made in the summer had to be goalkeeper Ben Foster from Birmingham City for a reported £4 million. He only missed one game for us last season keeping ten clean sheets which matched the clubs Premier League clean sheet record. Foster also won the players and supporters player of the season. I think he is one of the top keepers in the league, and I think if he had kept himself available for England he would be in a chance for the number 1 shirt for the 3 lions.
I ultimately think that this could potentially be the greatest season if you are a baggies supporter. I believe we can go onto new heights, go onto explore the Europa League in a few seasons. West Bromwich Albion are a growing club and will soon be a force to be reckoned with in the Barclays Premier League. The Hodgson era is over and we are entering the Steve Clarke era at the Hawthorns, the Hawthorns will soon be a well known stadium around the world.
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