Tony Pulis – A change in Philosophy

February 11th 2017, London Stadium, London, England, Premier League football, West Ham versus West Bromwich Albion; West Brom Manager Tony Pulis shares a joke as he prepares for kick off (Photo by Mark Kerton/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Having failed in my search to find anyone giving this West Brom team credit this season, I felt it was about time something was said about the incredible job being done at the club.

The job Tony Pulis is doing at West Brom hasn’t had the attention it deserves. The Baggies are currently in 8th place in the table, just four points behind Everton. It has been quite the turn around, a large percentage of West Brom fans weren’t happy when Pulis was handed the job at the Hawthorns, many fans showing their disgust at the football they witnessed in the early part of Pulis’ tenure.

Tony Pulis’ teams were known for playing the long ball game, being very tight at the back and being very dangerous from set pieces. That reputation largely stems from Pulis’ time at Stoke City. Arsene Wenger once referred to Stoke City as a ‘rugby team’, a description that seemed applicable when watching matches at the then Britannia stadium. Pulis had his ground staff recalculate the margins of the pitch and push back the advertising hoardings to accommodate Rory Delap’s long throw-ins. Filling his lineup with as many six foot plus players as possible, there was more than an element of unpleasantness to what Pulis was trying to achieve.

If you watch West Brom this season, you will see a more attack minded approach. Of course you will still see an organised and well drilled team but Pulis has them playing a more free flowing style of play. The signings of Matt Phillips, Hal Robson – Kanu and Nacer Chadli shows a change in Pulis’ philosophy. Pulis finally managed to offload want-away striker Saido Berahino during the January transfer window. The sale of Berahino can only be seen as a good thing for Pulis and West Brom, a striker who didn’t want to play for the club, who often caused trouble is finally off their books. Nacer Chadli and Matt Philips provide the ammunition for Salomon Rondon, a striker who has really found his feet this season scoring seven goals and providing two assists. Pulis has given West Brom a great spine to the team in Foster, Evans, Fletcher and Rondon.

West Brom’s performances this season have largely gone unnoticed, maybe this is because of the demise of Leicester – which has been grabbing a lot of the headlines this season. What ever the reason, West Brom and Tony Pulis deserve a lot of credit for the turn around of the club. West Brom could finish in 7th place this year, which would be an outstanding achievement for the club. The recent draw with West Ham at the London stadium showed that this is another Tony Pulis team that will not give in, with West Brom grabbing a late equaliser.

West Brom now have new investment and Tony Pulis has shown he can be very astute in the transfer market, Baggies fans should be very excited about the summer and who the club will sign, it is important that Pulis is given as much time as possible to put together a team that can challenge for a top six finish next season. A top six finish would have been unheard of, when asking the fans where they expect their side to finish. However it is now a real possibility thanks to the hard work of Tony Pulis.