West Bromwich Albion
Can West Brom improve on last season's eighth place finish? (Reuters)

Last season

Premier League: 8<sup>th

FA Cup: Third Round

League Cup: Third Round

Top Scorer: Romelu Lukaku (17)

Summer work

The Baggies have endured a relatively quiet summer after last season's splendid campaign. Nicolas Anelka has returned from the Far East via a loan spell at Juventus to join what is his sixth Premier League club, arriving on a free transfer along with former Paris Saint Germain defender Diego Lugano. Determined to prove that loan signings can be as significant as any other, West Brom will attempt to fill the void left by Romelu Lukaku with 21-year-old Matej Vydra. And after being shown the door in June, the club have thrown another contract to Zoltan Gera ahead of what will be his eighth season with the club.

Manager - Steve Clarke

Clarke took to management with relative ease last year. The trials and tribulations of Peter Odemwingie and a horrid end of season run which saw the club win just two of their final ten league games will ensure the former Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool assistant begins the new campaign a far more experienced coach.

Key Player - Matej Vydra

Although Shane Long's contribution of 11 goals cannot be ignored, Vydra will be expected to hit the ground running at the Hawthorns having shown he his more than capable of excelling in England. What contribution a 34-year-old Anelka can make remains to be seen, with much of the goal scoring burden likely to rest with the Czech Republic international who was instrumental in Watford's Championship playoff charge by striking 22 goals.


West Brom's comfortable top half finish last season was no flash in the pan. Upon their Premier League return in 2010 the club have consecutively clinched, 11<sup>th, 10<sup>th and 8<sup>th placed finishes, with the club's previous penchant for yo-yo-ing between the top two flights now a thing of the past. And while that is likely to remain the case, the club's lack of investment this summer could see their rise halt with the gap between them and Europa League challengers vast.


While clubs around them have significantly strengthened this summer, not a lot has changed for West Brom, a scenario that could see the club squeezed out of the top ten. 15<sup>th