The continued presence of clubs like West Bromwich Albion in the Premiership hinge on getting good players on the cheap, but the impact Osaze Odemwingie has made at the club must have been difficult to predict. Signed from Lokomotiv Moscow for a mere £2 million in the summer, his 13 goals in the league have brought 15 precious points for the Baggies, who were tipped to go down before the start of the season. A bright start under Roberto Di Matteo, who won them promotion, saw them as high as 3rd place early on in the season, and they are the only team to leave Old Trafford with a point where every other team has lost. They soon began to struggle though, leading to the exit of Di Matteo and the appointment of Roy Hodgson in February. Hodgson stabilised a team in free fall and guided them towards safety. Albion now lie in 12th on the magic 40 point mark and it is safe to say that without Osaze’s goals, West Brom might have been cut adrift at the bottom of the table. Pound-for-Pound, he is the signing of the season so far in the Premier League.
A number of things make him so effective. He’s two-footed, scoring 7 goals with his left foot and 6 with his right. His skill and movement also make him perfect as a lone striker, which is now the default formation in world football. 6 goals in the first half of games and 7 goals in the second half is a sign that he is dangerous throughout the match, a testament to his fitness and mentality. Osaze’s great early season form was rewarded when he was named Player of the Month for September, 2010, and he is only the second Nigerian to achieve that accolade. He is ranked as one of the Premier League’s top 20 players by Actim Index. With his club virtually securing survival this season, the task before Hodgson and club management must be to bring in quality support for Osaze, in order to turn the Baggies into an established Premiership side.