As an Everton fan I take a huge amount of pleasure from putting a Tony Pulis side in its place. Not because I have anything against West Brom, in fact I actually feel sorry for the fans who choose to give the club their hard earned money every week only to be subjected to ninety minutes of Pulisball. The reason I enjoy beating his sides so much is this. It isn’t just three more points towards Everton’s march on Europe, when Mirallas, Schneiderlin and Lukaku managed to play past the Pulis double decker bus and his pack of yard dogs it was a victory for football.
The Pulis brand of football doesn’t belong in the Premier League, in fact I’d expect to see his tactics employed on a Sunday morning where half the players are still intoxicated from a Saturday night on the lash, lumping the ball so high that it comes back down covered in snow and flooding the box for set pieces in the hope that the ball can be bundled over the goal line.
It’s not what you expect to see in a Premier League where every club is paid tens of millions of pounds in television rights and is the preferred destination of most talented footballers, how Pulis has managed to take his side to 8th in the Premier League is something that continues to baffle me.
The intentions of Pulis were extremely clear on Saturday at Goodison Park. Ten minutes into the game and with the score at 0-0 we had time wasting, three or four of Pulis’ yard dogs were constantly kicking lumps out of Lukaku whenever the Belgian international received the ball, the double decker bus never left the West Brom eighteen yard box and throughout the second half, even with the Baggies 2-0 down, those tactics didn’t change.
Romelu Lukaku was man of the match for me. He had a hand in all three of Everton’s goals, scoring the third himself, and his hold up play before he released Schneiderlin into an eighteen yard box packed with West Brom players to score Everton’s second goal was superb as was Schneiderlin’s finish. A few eyebrows were raised when Ronald Koeman’s team selection was announced at 2pm but Gareth Barry played brilliantly proving all his doubters wrong, Ross Barkley played another great game and is now beginning to look like the player all Evertonians hoped he would be and although the back four didn’t have a great deal to do, they looked solid with the addition of Jagielka and kept another clean sheet.
The game resembled a training session for Everton, the match stats give a true representation of how the game played out and thankfully, the tactics employed by the Premier Leagues football antichrist were deservedly well beaten. I understand that there are times when teams have to play a defensive game against stronger opponents but this wasn’t a one off from Pulis. He took Stoke down the same route and it’s a reputation and stigma that the Potters still have attached to them even though Mark Hughes has greatly improved Stoke’s brand of football.
Fans of Pulis would point out that West Brom are currently 8th in the Premier League. I’d argue now Pulis has reached his target of forty points that they won’t be there for much longer and it would in fact be an injustice to the Premier League and football itself if the anti football tactics of Tony Pulis were deemed to be a successful way of playing what should be a beautiful game.
Written by Craig Holland, follow him on twitter @
Craig is also the founder of the superb Everton blog craighoyland1.wordpress.com
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