So the football season is back, after just over three months without any competitive Albion matches. We couldn’t have wished for a better start either, as we started the season with a convincing 3-0 win over Liverpool at The Hawthorns thanks to goals from Zoltan Gera, Peter Odemwingie (penalty) and Romelu Lukaku.
We could even have had more goals, with Shane Long missing a penalty, James Morrison sending an effort over when clean through on goal and Marc-Antoine Fortune forcing Pepe Reina into a fine save.
One player who has received a lot of praise for his performance is Claudio Yacob, who picked up the Man of the Match award on his competitive debut after joining us as a free agent this summer. From what I have seen of him so far, it looks as though Dan Ashworth has found yet another gem.
Yacob’s presence in front of the back four allowed the likes of Youssouf Mulumbu and Morrison to push further forward and try and influence the game more in an attacking sense, something which they both did to great effect.
The fact that we were able to introduce a player who was one of the most highly-rated young players in Europe when he joined Chelsea last summer in Lukaku from the bench shows just how far we have come, with the big striker running the Liverpool defence ragged and being in the right place at the right time to score his goal during an impressive 20-minute cameo.
This Saturday sees us travel to White Hart Lane to take on Spurs in our first away game of the season.
Our last visit there ended in a 1-0 defeat, although we had to play almost our entire second-string when we last visited North London in January due to a number of injuries.
Spurs appear to be a club in transition under Andre Villas-Boas, with the former Chelsea manager selling a number of players who have been at the club for a few years and trying to replace them with players he was linked with during his brief tenure at Stamford Bridge.
Away games against some of the bigger sides in the league are always difficult, but I get the impression that Clarke will send us out to attack in every game this season.
It may be a risky tactic at times, but one of the few criticisms leveled at Hodgson last season was that he didn’t
always get the balance right between being solid defensively but also posing enough of a threat going forward, so I would be very happy to see us commit one or two more players forward at times this season.
It will be interesting to see whether Clarke makes any changes to the side for Saturday’s game, although every player who started against Liverpool certainly did enough to warrant keeping their place.
I’m not sure what to expect from Saturday really, but hopefully we can pick up a positive result!
Can Albion build on Saturday's performance and get something at Spurs? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.