I could not quite believe the result at Goodison Park yesterday, as Everton suffered a 1-0 defeat by West Brom. The Baggies had just one shot on-goal and it found its way into the net in strange circumstances.
The home side had 34 shots on goal, hitting the woodwork twice and it just seemed to be one of those games where the Toffees were never going to score.
A mixture of good defending, poor finishing and good luck gave the Baggies a very unlikely win on Merseyside.
A typical Tony Pulis win
West Brom produced a performance which has become synonymous of Tony Pulis’ teams. They start with a point and aim to defend it. More often than not Pulis’ sides get results and that is why he has never been relegated as boss.
His teams do not complicate things, often playing a rather dull brand of football, which is hardly ever pretty on the eye. Despite what was perceived at Stoke as a successful spell, a lot of Potters fans were glad to see the Welshman leave the club.
One of the main reasons was that they were fed-up of their team playing such a dull brand of football. The West Brom fans are now singing from a similar hymn sheet. Even after yesterday’s rather fortunate in at Everton, Baggies fans were complaining because of their team’s lack of attacking threat.
They have a fair point. If West Brom under Tony Pulis were playing in my back garden I would shut the curtains.
Football is supposed to be entertainment
Take away all the money and rivalries football is at the end of the day supposed to be entertainment. We go to a football match to watch goals and attacking football. We do not go to football matches to watch teams just defend for 90 minutes.
West Brom’s defence and ‘keeper Ben Foster played well against Everton, but on another day they really could have been on the end of a hiding, because they really did push their luck at times.
West Brom have not been great this season and they will never will be under Tony Pulis. The Welshman’s teams will never win enough games to ever be truly successful or win trophies, because in general they do not attack or score enough goals.
But he picks-up results
There will be people out there claiming that Tony Pulis picks-up results and that is why he keeps getting hired by top-flight teams. However, when a team wins and the boss is still getting criticised then you realise that there is definitely something wrong.
Pulis has talked about finding a way to win against superior opposition. The tactic worked at Everton, but it could have went terribly wrong and we could have been talking about West Brom being hammered and showing no ambition in attack, like many other games this season.
The forums and messages boards after yesterday’s game showed West Brom fans feelings very clearly. The fans were glad of the win, but criticised Pulis and his defensive tactics. Some even stated they thought their team was fortunate to pick-up the win.
Tony Pulis is not a tactically genius, he is a man who sends his team out to defend first and foremost and if they have the odd attack then he is pleased. The strange thing is that at Crystal Palace Tony Pulis produced a team that was actually attractive on the eye.
Granted he had the likes of Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon available to him, but he still he struck the right balance between attack and defence.
At West Brom he does not have great flair players available to him, but he has not used some of his more exciting players to their full extent, with the Saido Berahino situation a strange one. The youngster started yesterday’s game, but he has struggled to get in the team of late.
The Baggies are not going to get relegated and have a decent enough defence, so why not attempt to win games in the future, instead of just sitting back and hoping for a set-piece to grab a winner.
No doubt Tony Pulis will continue playing the same style of football and will say he is just cutting his cloth accordingly, but the brutal truth is nobody wants to watch West Brom play at the moment, not even the majority of their own fans.
Should Tony Pulis be praised for his managerial record?