Villa have traditionally been the leading side in the west midlands for many years but that trend altered last season as they only avoided the drop by two points while Albion finished in the top 10.
The same pattern has continued during the current campaign with Villa lying 18th and the Baggies seventh despite a recent slump in fortunes.
Clarke's main focus is on arresting that slump rather than events at Villa Park.
But, when asked if he could believe Villa were in the bottom three, Clarke said: "Yes, because you look at the results this season and they haven't been good enough to get them further up the league.
"That's what happens in football. The size of the stadium or the size of the crowd doesn't give you a God-given right to be in the Premier League.
"They are probably a club in a little bit in transition. They've had good moments in the season, are one game from a Wembley final (in the Capital One Cup).
"It's not all doom and gloom for them. I've seen them quite a few times and they always play with energy and enthusiasm."