Pressure Piles on Pulis

After a recent run of poor performances the pressure has been piled on to West Brom manager Tony Pulis.

West Brom enjoyed a promising start to the season, which included an unbeaten run throughout August and the capture of Kieran Gibbs, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Gareth Barry in the final stages of the summer transfer window. Following the team’s start to the season, they were hailed as one of the best group of players that the club has ever had.

Despite a strong start, the Baggies haven’t won since the second game of the season, and it seems that the fans have turned on Pulis.

Conceding sloppy late goals seems to be a worrying trend for the Baggies right now. The team’s inability to hold on in the final moments of matches may prove to be costly at the end of the season. Five valuable points were dropped by West Brom following goals conceded from the 80th minute onwards in October’s fixtures alone – against Watford, Leicester and Southampton.

The team’s best performance in October arguably came against Manchester City on Saturday afternoon. A game which the baggies lost 3-2.

The idea that the team tends to play their best attacking football against some of the top 6 teams baffles me. Whereas against teams of a similar stature, (Watford, Leicester, Southampton etc.) we don’t seem to demonstrate any willingness or intensity when it comes to attacking and creating chances.

Pulis’s defensive counter-attacking style worked terrifically for the Baggies last season firing them to a remarkable 10th placed finish. This is definitely not the case this season with opposition teams looking as though they have a found a way to overcome the Welshman’s defensive tactics.

Fans were happy to let the defensive style of play slide as long as the team produced results on the pitch. Following a run of poor results, the majority of fans have now turned on Pulis and called for him to be sacked, with fans wanting a more attack minded manager to be installed at the helm of the club.

Given the immense financial benefits of staying in the Premier League, clubs now seem to sack their manager’s very quickly following a poor run of form. Following the recent dismissals of Craig Shakespeare from Leicester and Ronald Koeman from Everton, Pulis may well be the next Premier League manager to be relieved of his duties.

Pulis’s task to turn fortunes around for the club will be extremely tougher considering the Baggies face Huddersfield Town (A), Chelsea (H) and Spurs (A) in the next three games.

Albion’s next game is away against Huddersfield, who shocked everyone recently by defeating Manchester United.

Albion will then host Chelsea, who have been able to turn around their poor start to the season and re-establish themselves in the top 4.

The Baggies will then make a trip to the national stadium – Wembley to face Spurs who are currently sitting third place in the league.

It is a likely possibility that following these fixtures, West Brom could be forced into a nerve-wracking relegation battle.

Injury problems in the squad are also another hurdle that the team and Pulis need to overcome in the coming weeks.

Defender Craig Dawson is expected to be injured for at least 8 weeks with a knee injury. Dawson has been a mainstay in Pulis’s side since he took charge in January of 2015, operating at both right-back and centre-back for the Baggies.

Fan favourite James Morrison is also out for the foreseeable future as he is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury. 15-million-pound summer signing Oliver Burke also remains unfit for the Baggies.

However, there is good news on the injury front as Welsh forward Hal Robson-Kanu came off the bench in Saturday’s clash against City, marking his return from injury.

Fortunately for West Brom, Pulis has a wealth of experience with turning around the form of struggling teams and he boasts the tremendous record of never being relegated as a Manager.

I spoke to a West Brom season ticket holder about Pulis, team selection and the team’s defensive playing style. Here are his thoughts.

“I have stood behind Pulis for a while despite criticism from fans and the draining effect his playing style has had on myself and clearly the players. However, it is a waste of seeing players of this calibre reduced to such negative and quite frankly boring brand of football. He got us out of a predicament but now his time has come for the good of the club. I will be shocked if he is still charge by December should we fail to get results against Huddersfield and Crystal Palace before the turn of the year.”

Jaikuran Randhawa

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