The Baggies are the Premier League’s Wildcard

Image from uk.eurosport.yahoo.com

Widely regarded as the best and most competitive league in the world, there is no shortage of quality teams in the Barclay’s Premier League.

With last year’s results and the movement in the summer transfer window, the top three looked to be on lock – Manchest United and Manchester City would again probably contest for first and second, while Chelsea looked capable of also challenging for the title.

That coveted fourth spot and entry in the UEFA Champion’s League though? That one was up for debate. Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal all saw changes to their squad, the former two also had managerial changes, and Everton and Newcastle looked like potential top four candidates.

And so with over a third of the season already played and the January transfer window creeping ever closer, it is massively surprising that West Bromwich Albion, 10th place in the league last season, are sitting in third place, just four points off of first place Manchester United.

There were no signs that this would happen, and not even the most hopeful of West Brom fans would have predicted their team to be anywhere near the top four.

Yet that’s where the Baggies stand so far in this Premier League campaign, and much credit must go to their summer appointment of manager Steve Clarke.

Clarke, formerly assistant manager of first Chelsea and then of Liverpool, took over the reigns at West Brom this summer following the departure of Roy Hodgson when he took over as England manager last season.

West Brom began the campaign with a shock 3-0 thrashing of Liverpool, and since then they have gone from strength to strength.

Under their new manager West Brom have played mostly in a 4-2-3-1 formation that gets the most out of Shane Long.

Long plays at the top of West Brom’s formation and the Irishmen has reveled in the role, leading the club in goals as well as in assists, with five and four respectively.

James Morrison and Peter Odemwingie have also been vital to WBA’s offense this season, and the addition of Romelu Lukaku, who the club acquired on a loan deal from Chelsea, has given Clarke a further boost to his front line.

Despite their incredible start, it’s hard to see West Brom finishing in the top four come the end of the season. Although especially in a league as unpredictable as the Premier league, you can never say never.

Rather, the Baggies can realistically aim for one of the Europa League spots, which too would be a fantastic feat for a club that many predicted would linger in the bottom half of the table.

Regardless of their finish, West Brom have done brilliant to get to third place at this stage of the season. Whether they can hold on to that is yet to be seen.

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