West Brom vs Spurs in the Premier League is up next so we look at the weak spots in Tony Pulis’ side.
Tony Pulis is one of the most reliable coaches in the Premier League, but his side are having a very inconsistent time this season. Having gathered more points on the road than at home, his counter attacking approach is yet to be fine-tuned at the Hawthorns.
So, what can we expect and what are the weaknesses in his side for West Brom vs Spurs this time?
Where West Brom concede chances
Tony Pulis sides are traditionally strong in the centre and the space to be exploited is in the full back areas. He has always had good strong centre backs wherever he has coached and seeks to protect them with at least two or three central midfielders.
That has been no different at West Brom as he wants to make opponents beat his side from the flanks. That is why Arsenal, a team that likes to go through the inside channels, struggled and lost 2-1 to the Baggies. Whereas Leicester, a team that plays far more from the wings with Albrighton and Mahrez, beat them 3-2.
Leicester had real joy with Marc Albrighton attacking right back Craig Dawson, who is more of a centre back filling in at the right back position. Dawson is a very capable as a full back, but can be beaten by more tricky wingers or players with pace.
On the other side, Chris Brunt, a more natural midfielder, is also a target for opponents. Like Dawson, Brunt is a makeshift full back and equally fallible to teams that can get forward and put him on the defensive. Everton highlighted this in their fightback from two goals down to emerge victorious 3-2, as Gerard Deulofeu got in to Brunt’s zone to feed Romelu Lukaku.
Mauricio Pochettino will probably go with his usual tactics to overpower in the central midfield zone. This cuts down on attacking transition times to get the ball moving forward quicker and over a shorter distance to the opponent’s goal. However, we will have to play the ball out to the flanks in this match if we are to avoid the trap that Arsenal fell in to. The choice of players in the wide midfield roles will be crucial to the Tottenham tactics in West Brom vs Spurs on Saturday afternoon, otherwise our full backs will have to be heavily involved in play.
Pressing the full backs
West Brom’s full backs are vulnerable to teams that can get tricky and speedy wingers at them 1v1. To give them added complications, pressing them when in possession also gives them increased hassle whereby turnovers come in to the equation.
Leicester, a team that gave them a torrid time from the flanks, did just this.
The Foxes were very good at getting out in to the wide areas to close down the Baggies’ full backs to create turnovers from which counter attacks could be launched.
We often see us try and hem the opposition in and use the sidelines to restrict the space to play in and thus the opponent’s options on the ball. I fully expect to see this being effective in West Brom vs Spurs this time.
Stopping the crosses
With players like James McClean, Chris Brunt, Stephane Sessegnon and Callum McMananaman, who can all put in a good ball, and a big target in Salomon Rondon or Rickie Lambert, West Brom are a good crossing based side.
We’ve had trouble with big centre forwards against Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld as neither are strong in the air when it comes to defending strikers with size and good leaping ability. Trying to stop the crosses at source by getting to the wide players early and pressing the West Brom full backs to force them backwards are what is needed here.
Anytime you face a Tony Pulis side, you have to be aware of the dangers they pose from set pieces. Pulis has always coached his team extensively on the training field in these situations as they are not big scorers from open play. This gets them vital additional goals, as he is often prepared to give up possession and territory in matches, as he wants wants his team to have space to counter attack in to. Therefore, getting strikes from set pieces becomes a way of getting ahead in games to then open them up for his side to counter attack.
We can’t allow ourselves to get behind against a team such as West Brom, as we have struggled to break down sides that sit back and look to defend deep. Whilst we have greatly improved at scoring from set pieces, being organised to defend them still remains an issue under Mauricio Pochettino. He persists with using a mix of zone and man-to-man marking and that has seen us give up a number of chances.
Interestingly, We have given up the sixth most shots from set pieces in the Premier League, whilst West Brom have allowed the fifth highest, so a free kick or corner routine may settle this match.
West Brom vs Spurs outlook
West Brom haven’t been good at home this season, but this could be a long afternoon if we get bogged down trying to play through the centre. The key to beating them will be putting pressure on their full backs and moving the ball out in to wide areas for crosses, cut backs, pull backs or even balls through the inside channels.
West Brom vs Spurs prediction: West Brom 1-2 Spurs.