Spurred On

One Ben Foster

Ben Foster put in an excellent shot stopping performance against Tottenham. The way he got across his goal at times to keep Spurs out was exceptional.

Without a doubt we should have been 3-0 down at least by half time, considering the pressure Spurs were putting us under at times during the first half. Foster rightly won match of the match, although I thought Tottenham were not as potent in front of goal as their recent form suggests.

Conceding possession

In the car after the game, I kept hearing TalkSport making a point of us conceding over 70% possession to Tottenham. Yes we get frustrated if we are doing this kind of thing against the likes of Northampton, but I saw no problem with going with this approach today. Tottenham are on very good form so far, having only conceded 3 goals in the league until Saturday.

Keeping things tight while conceding possession and utilising set pieces is exactly what Pulis does and is the reason he is still managing in this league after all these years. I even commented on the half time stats that they looked like Spurs were about to be “Pulised”. People only get frustrated when he keeps the same approach against teams we are capable of taking the game to.

In games against top teams or teams on a great run of form, letting them have the ball and then hitting them on the break is the way to go. Leicester won a bloody title doing it!

Substitutions

It isn’t Gardner’s fault – and it may not even be Pulis’ fault – but when the inevitable Gardner substitution is made it appears to signal to the team to sit back and hold on. We always seem more likely to concede when he does this, as it changes the dynamic of the team near the end of games. I can’t say that different substitutions would have resulted in 3 points, but it does frustrate me that we become disjointed and invite the opposition onto us when he makes certain substitutions.

Some of his substitutions are very suitable and work out well. Without the introduction of Brunt on Saturday the goal wouldn’t have come about. But even then Pulis appears very indecisive about his subs. At one point Morrison was changed and ready, then Leko, then Robsob-Kanu on three occasions before sitting back down again. Games obviously develop and he may change his mind, but on a few occasions we have conceded during this faffing about. I just wish Pulis would be more decisive and positive about his substitutions.

“Irrelevant” Albion

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I think neutrals and opposition fans see what they want to see most of the time. The Pulis team tag means that there’s already an assumption of hoofball, time wasting and playing dirty. Yes I admit we are these things at times, but even after the performance against West Ham there were comments about how boring and negative and dirty we supposedly are.

I find it funny when people throw out the “irrelevant” insult at us  – which they do more often than not because we have taken points off them. It’s like anyone who is not competing for the top 6 should turn up and attack the big teams and end up conceding 5 goals for the good of the game and for a more dramatic title race. We can’t be that irrelevant if we piss people off so much!

The media will also moan because letting the opposition play in front of you and keeping things tight doesn’t make good highlights or talking points for their radio and TV shows. Yes we haven’t won anything in a long while, and we are one of the “just there” Premier League teams, but you can say that about half of the teams in this league.

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