Most West Bromwich Albion fans have no idea how Tony Pulis instructs his players or sets up his team to play. Neither do I or anyone else in the media, All any of us has is an opinion based on what we see on the pitch.
And what the Baggies faithful have seen leaves them believing the team is too defensive minded and not playing with any sort of convincing attacking intent. They believe it comes from the philosophy of the Head Coach and to be fair it’s hard to argue any different.
From the outside it looks like a team that is more worried about not losing than it is winning. If the team were sitting mid-table that philosophy and mind-set speaks and argues for itself, however when you are just one point above the relegation zone then it’s a different situation. With everyone from the board-room to the terraces asking questions, such is the fear surrounding relegation from the Royal Bank of Football affectionately known as the Premier League.
Make no mistake about it the fear is losing 100 million pounds guaranteed income every year and not about having to play in the Championship. I accept that for most supporters it is different as they want to see their team compete against the best teams in the top league.
For Albion if Tony Pulis’s philosophy is set up not to lose them it patently isn’t working with 5 defeats from their 11 games. However It is worth pointing out in the interests of fairness that teams with a more attacking attitude are below Albion in the table notably West Ham.
I am not a stats person, however what does help you to understand the Baggies fans feelings and frustrations is the official Premier League shots on target figures. Albion have had 30 shots on target so far this season; that is one every 33 minutes.
Jay Rodriguez is top with 8 shots on target then come Hegazi, Phillips and Rondon with 3 each, Chadli, Barry, McClean, Morrison and Robson-Kanu have 2 apiece. While Evans, Gibbs and Krychowiak make up the 30 with one each.
Does that tell its own story? I will leave that to the Albion supporters to discuss and debate that one. However, to use an old cliché, what I do know for certain is that if you don’t buy a ticket you definitely won’t win the raffle and the more tickets you buy the greater the chance of winning.
I will say that it’s so easy sitting here at a keyboard to be a great coach or manager or player and to have all the answers but I am sure it’s a lot different when you have the job for real as Tony Pulis does. One way to get the supporters back on his side is, to quote another old saying, to “have a right good go” in games.