How far can West Brom go?

Once known as the yo-yo club of English football West Brom are now the highest flying football team in the Midlands. They have made their way slowly into the top half or the Premiership by embracing a structure at the club which has allowed them to grow within their means being sensible with finances whilst also scouting decent talent to add to their squad which has progressed brilliantly under the stewardship of Steve Clarke. They finished 8th in the league last season which included some very impressive results, but how far can they go?

In terms of playing style when they are playing at top form they are a very good tactical side and difficult to play against.  Steve Clarke has implemented a counter-attacking system at the Hawthorns and it has worked wonders for them. They are very resilient and strong in defence with good technical players in midfield to link defence to attack and they have good runners up front to finish the moves created.

One of their biggest strengths last season was their togetherness, they defended as a team from the front with the strikers constantly pressing and harrying the opposition to try and force an error. They also attacked as a team when they go forward you can pretty much always count at least three or four players trying to burst into the box to attack the ball.  

Their biggest issue last season though was their consistency they had a great first half of the season with very few blips, but in the second half of the season their form dipped dramatically. Just after Christmas a run which saw them go without a win in six games cost them dearly. Although they did find some form again beating Liverpool and Sunderland in the next two they slumped once more only securing one victory in their final nine games at the end of the season.  

They really struggled in the final phase of the season whether it was through tiredness, lack of confidence or just not playing well, whatever it was that caused the capitulation of the Baggies form must be something Steve Clarke will have to seriously look at. If they hadn’t of suffered such a loss of form they could have been a lot closer to Everton and Liverpool in 6th and 7th position.

It’s all said and done now though and West Brom can be very happy and very proud with their highest league position ever in the Premier League of 8th. They will now be looking to see if they can push on and take positives into next season.

Something that will affect them next season is not having influential loan star Romelu Lukaku, the 19-year-old on loan from Chelsea scored a total of 17 goals in the league and Clarke is now going to have to find a player with the ability to replace those goal if they are to improve this year.

Another key to any progression next season will be depth I think West Brom will need to make another three or four good squad players who can come into the team at the same level as the current first team. I think they struggled towards the end of the season because of a lack of strength in depth and that is something that Clarke must look to improve. If he can scout some more quality bargains like Claudio Yacob they will definitely be on the right track.

One of the more disappointing aspects of last season were the early exits from cup competitions, something which they will keen to make amends for next year, if they can get a good run going I don’t see any reason why they can’t be competing in the latter stages of tournaments.

They have a very good structure in place at the Hawthorns and Chairman Jeremy Peace and Steve Clarke have developed a great relationship. They are a team with a lot of potential and if they can continue to grow in this same vein I think they can continue to improve and maybe begin to close the gap on the top seven.