Chelsea vs West Brom: Narrow Losses Prove West Brom Can Compete with Elite

West Brom got smacked with two daunting games to start off their 2011-2012 Premier League schedule. They held their own and narrowly missed a chance to draw Manchester United and followed that match up by proving they can hang with Chelsea with a slim 2-1 defeat.

Though they may not have gained any points in their first two matches, they certainly gained some respect. They squared off against two of the most dangerous teams in the Premier League and held their own.

The worst is now behind them and they managed to keep the goal differential to a manageable -2. They now face a much less talented opponent in Bournemouth, one in which they can finally compete in and win.

The first match made it seem as though Manchester United might be out of sync. Everyone knew the Red Devils were far superior to West Brom, so the close score was credited to an off game by Manchester United, rather than a strong performance by West Brom.

Now that they have repeated their performance against another dominant team in the EPL, it's hard to completely discredit West Brom. No longer does it seem like West Brom being competitive is a complete fluke.

West Brom is nowhere near being considered a top team in the Premier League, but they have made it clear that they demand respect. They aren't going to be a team that lies down and lets a stronger team run them over.

Two losses to start the season hurt, but West Brom has taken huge strides this season already, even if they don't have any points to show for it.

--Kyle Vassalo

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