Our new counter attacking style
Tony Pulis is in his 25th year of management, and in this game you don’t last that long without being effective. Over those years he has built a reputation for his physical and direct football style – preferring not to utilise full backs and relying on set pieces. This is what frustrated us last season, with Rondon always on his own and half a mile away from everyone else, who sat in their defensive formation while teams came at us over and over.
Since October, something has changed. We still don’t mind letting the opposition have the ball, but we are moving the ball around with much more haste, keeping possession a lot better and getting the ball out to our wingers quickly to set up effective counter attacks. We are now trying to go forward and trying to win games, and we have put in several excellent performances in the past few weeks. We are also now utilising Rondon’s greatest strength – his quality in the air – as proven by his amazing 13 minute header hat trick against Swansea.
Long may it continue!
Players on form
It was only a few weeks ago where some were stating that we had purchased duds in acquiring Phillips and Nyom. It appears they have now settled and grown in confidence and have been two of our stand out performers in recent weeks.
Chadli and Evans have kept up their usual high standard, and with Brunt and Fletcher returning to good form we have a team very much in the zone and high on confidence at the moment.
However, I am still a bit concerned about the depth of our squad. We have one of the oldest squads in the league and don’t have quality cover for all positions. This has been caused by several windows of buying back up players and ‘getting by’, rather than replacements for our regular starters. For example – he has been an excellent servant for us, but Olsson shouldn’t be anywhere near the first team any more. It is going to take several windows to rectify the squad situation, but hopefully we will get a few January reinforcements.
Daring to dream?
Many reports have suggested that Pulis’ new target under the new regime is to steadily improve and get in to that top ten, and even rumours that Europe might be on their radar. The calibre of player we are rumoured to be seeking in January, plus Leicester showing last season what a settled team high on confidence can achieve, means we would be forgiven of daring to dream.
Pulis will never win over some fans; they have grudges that can’t be overcome. But the rest of us have just been asking for a bit more attacking intent and setting out to win against teams around us in the league, and right now that is exactly what we’re getting.