I’m sure that Albion fans all over the world were pinching themselves on Saturday afternoon. It was nearly 3pm, it was mid-November and Albion were third in the Premier League – even this morning I had to look twice at the table to believe it’s true!
The Baggies’ quick passing in midfield and decisive counter-attacking football was too much for Sunderland to handle. It was another masterclass by the Baggies. Goals from Zoltan Gera, a Shane Long tap-in, Romelu Lukaku’s penalty and Marc-Antonie Fortune’s late goal saw Albion record their fourth consecutive top-flight win since 1980.
Although unfortunate at the nature of Shane Long’s goal, the Black Cats should’ve already been down to ten men after John O’Shea had felled his Irish teammate twice – the second a clear case of referee Dean ‘bottling’ a big decision. Albion were fluent going forward with Zoltan Gera the catalyst.
Just like the week before against Chelsea a number of players performed to their capability. Alongside Gera, Claudio Yacob protected the back four superbly, Shane Long worked tirelessly up front and Boaz Myhill made some important saves. The spine of Albion’s side has flourished under Clarke after being given license to thrill.
Many pundits have been proven wrong by Albion’s impressive start. Clarke was fortunate in the respect that he inherited a team of footballers who seem to enjoy playing together, have a good work ethic and want to succeed. However, it’s the subtle changes which have transformed us from a battling outfit to an attractive one. The slick passing and pace of our attacks has shocked opposition defences and pundits alike.
Tonight against Swansea is another tricky away trip. The Swans have only lost on their own patch to Everton this season and Albion may again be without the influential Youssouf Mulumbu. Jonas Olsson also faces a late fitness check after limping off at the final whistle on Saturday.
Another three points would surely secure the Manager of the Month Award for Steve Clarke. He certainly deserves it after the run we’ve had recently.
COME ON YOU BAGGIES.
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