Vincent Kompany has changed the footballing identity at Turf Moor and is guiding Burnley to a comfortable finish in the top two of the Championship, with the Clarets a mammoth 16 points ahead of third-placed Watford.
The ex-Manchester City defender’s team are currently seven unbeaten in the league, with Louis Beyer’s second-half strike at Coventry City earning Burnley their fifth consecutive win in all competitions last weekend.
This Burnley side are not merely primed for the Championship – they have shown their ability to compete with Premier League sides this campaign, most notably when they triumphed over Bournemouth in the third round of the FA Cup.
A trip to Manchester United in the EFL Cup was less fruitful – a 2-0 loss was suffered and exit at the last-16 stage sealed – but Old Trafford saw a brave and adventurous Clarets side, changed from their period under the stewardship of Sean Dyche.
Burnley are yet to lose at Turf Moor in the Championship this season having collected 34 points from just 14 matches in front of their home faithful, averaging over two goals per game in the process
West Brom extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to six matches after a 4-0 demolition of National League side Chesterfield in their FA Cup third-round replay at The Hawthorns on Tuesday night.
A second-string Baggies side dispatched their fifth-tier opposition and never looked in danger of suffering an upset, with Carlos Corberan’s rotation for that game heavily influenced by the looming trip to Turf Moor this Friday.
Burnley are the obvious title favourites, then West Brom are mimicking the Clarets from further down the division – the Baggies have won nine of their last 10 matches in the Championship, a run which has seen them rise to sixth in the league standings.
It was clear to see from the outside that former manager Steve Bruce was not getting enough out of a talented group of players, but the rate at which Corberan has improved West Brom’s fortunes would not have been expected by even the most optimistic supporter.
Key players returning from lengthy injuries have helped the ex-Huddersfield Town boss – none more so than Daryl Dike – although Albion’s ability to now keep regular clean sheets is the primary reason why they have ascended the second-tier table so rapidly, with West Brom recording shutouts in seven of their last 10 league matches.