Did Pulis end up at the wrong Midland’s club?
Say what you want about Tony Pulis, but when it comes down to results, he gets the job done. The West Brom boss has had his name linked to Aston Villa a couple of times in recent months and if the Villa board had acted more decisively with ending Lambert’s sub-standard reign, he may have been Villa boss now.
The irony is now he could deliver a hammer blow to Villa’s season, by first sapping their confidence in the fight to stay in the Premier League and then by knocking them out of the FA Cup and denying them a trip to Wembley.
In the short-term, Pulis coming to Villa would have more-than-likely have meant that Villa wouldn’t be thinking about the possibility of relegation right now. If Villa and WBA swapped managers for this week’s double-header, you’d probably fancy Villa’s chances more with Pulis at the helm too. Long-term though, perhaps Pulis wouldn’t be a fit for Villa from a purist point of view and there might be limits to our potential under his old-school approach.
Despite Villa’s current predicament, it’s important not to lose track of where Villa should be and it is for that reason I personally wouldn’t have championed Pulis for the Villa job. If Villa had been successful the last few seasons and finished in the top six or so, Pulis’s name wouldn’t have come up in a short-list, if we were looking for a new manager. You could say the same for Tim Sherwood, but lets stay on topic!
An Albion Rock
For the Albion though, and I don’t mean this disparagingly at all, Pulis is the perfect fit. After having a reputation of being a yo-yo club over recent decades and having a quick-turn-around of managers recently, if he sticks around at the Hawthorns (and not pull a Crystal Palace), Pulis – who comes with a ‘never been relegated’ guarantee – will give Albion solid foundations going forward to establish themselves as an organised and solid mid-table Premier League team. Exactly the type of team you don’t want to be playing twice within a few days with so much at stake.
Impressive Baggie Record
You couldn’t find a ten-game period in Paul Lambert’s reign that comes close to Pulis’s first 10 games in charge of West Brom, and Sherwood has already had more defeats in just two games than Pulis has in 10.
Seven clean sheets from 10 games gives you a clear insight into the kind of games to expect against West Brom this week, as Pulis has them drilled well.
The worrying thing for Villa is defensive frailty has cropped back into their game, which doesn’t give you much hope when the team can’t score in the first place.
In my mind’s eye, Villa’s best hope to break the Pulis organised ranks is for the game to catch fire with the home crowd getting heavily involved (it’ll help to score first). That will hopefully finally awaken Christian Benteke, who when on song, gives you a chance against any defence. Also, Carles Gil remains a potential dark horse talent who could potentially be the skeleton key to pick the Pulis locks.
While we know what to expect from Pulis, who will fancy his chances in these two ties, we will learn a lot about our own new manager, who currently has question marks above his head. Tim Sherwood hasn’t had long with his team, but hopefully he’ll finally receive some beginners luck.
Sherwood will be up for it, so lets hope the players exude a similar passion too and send the Baggies and Pulis packing.
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