West Brom Premier League Preview
Players In: Ben Foster, Markus Rosenberg, Claudio Yacob, Romelu Lukaku (loan)
Players Out: Simon Cox, Paul Downing, Nicky Shorey, Joe Mattock, Keith Andrews, Lateef Elford-Aliyu
This will be Steve Clarke’s managerial debut having supported some big managers at Newcastle, Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool. He inherits a strong well-built squad that is filled with experienced players and could almost manage itself. Clarke’s organisational skills and training ground finesse could turn West Brom into contenders for Europe.
Romelu Lukaku has been brought in to bolster a forward line that at times needed a bigger presence around whom Long and Odemwingie can buzz whilst the arrival of Markus Rosenberg will add further options. Foster comes in on a permanent deal whilst Under-20 world cup winner Claudio Yacob will improve a midfield that at times has lacked invention.
West Brom could do with reinforcements in defence as it is the one area they look a little short. Despite only conceding one more goal than Chelsea last season they were lucky with injuries and a further centre back could allow the club to change their emphasis and attack teams away from home a bit more.
First game analysis:
Steve Clarke has inherited a very strong squad from Roy Hodgson and given his defensive pedigree the Baggies will be a hard team to beat this season. Claudio Yacob was excellent against Liverpool and Mulumbu continued to impress, looking better than any of Brendan Rodgers midfield three. Zoltan Gera chose a timely moment to score his first goal since scoring against West Brom for Fulham in 2010. Should stay up provided they keep hold of Olsson and Odemwingie in the transfer window.
With no real managerial experience Steve Clarke has come into the perfect club which has been nurtured by Jeremy peace and his well chosen managers over the last five years. An experienced squad with real quality in certain areas and a cutting edge that has been added to should be safe this year and by the end of the season we should see what effect Clarke will have.