Tony Pulis’ bubble was well and truly burst on Saturday following a heavy defeat by in-form Tottenham Hotspur. Both teams were in good form going into the game with Albion boyant by the arrival of new signing Callum McManaman and Spurs on a roll after reaching the Carling Cup final in midweek.
I’d hoped that Spurs may be a little jaded after a tough game on Wednesday against Sheffield United. However, it was the opposite as the visitors ran Albion ragged during an impressive 20 minute spell. Despite McManaman being given his debut, Albion were unable to get any type of foothold on the game.
Spurs dominated from the outset with Albion simply unable to cope with the movement in midfield of Dembele, Eriksen and Lamela. The trio outnumbered Morrison and Yacob in the middle who were guilty of giving Spurs too much space and time to manipulate Albion’s shape.
It came as no surprise when the visitors opened the scoring. After Eriksen had skipped past Wisdom and fired wide, he went one better in the sixth minute. After Yacob had felled Dembele on the edge of the area, Eriksen did what he does best and curled a free kick into the top corner. Foster got a hand on the ball but could only palm the ball into the net.
It got worse for Albion when Wisdom was again caught on his heels as this time Kane skipped past the defender and riffled a shot past Foster at his near post. At the time I thought Foster should’ve done better. Replays showed the ball was past him before he had time to react.
It took the Baggies 25 minutes to register an effort on target. Anichebe did well to break from the half way line. His powerful run found Morrison on the edge of the area who curled a shot goalwards. Lloris in the Spurs’ goal did well to push the ball round for a corner.
After Lescott had headed a free header over the bar, Lloris was called into action again when Albion worked a well-rehearsed free kick which saw Yacob force the ball goal wards. The keeper was again called into a smart save to divert the ball away.
Albion were pushing to pull a goal back and Dawson saw his header cannon back off the bar with Lloris finally beaten.
After the break
Normal service was resumed after the break with Spurs moving the ball around smartly in midfield. Again, Albion were guilty of allowing the opposition too much time on the ball. Only Morrison was willing to press midfielders as Albion were unable to continue on the front foot.
Eriksen came within inches of extending Spurs’ lead with Foster happy to see his effort flash wide of the post. But the third came for Spurs. Dawson gave the ball away cheaply with Lescott adjudged to have handled Kyle Walker’s cross in the area. Kane stepped up confidently and sent Foster the wrong way.
Albion’s only meaningful effort after the break came when Berahino’s volley was saved by Lloris. Substitute Brown was unable to scramble be ball into the net as Walker cleared from the goal line.
It was a horror show from Albion. Across the ninety minutes, Albion didn’t even manage 40% possession. At home. Spurs were dominant from the first whistle and cruised after the break. The Baggies were predictable and lacked imagination or any sort of creativity. Hugo Lloris made a couple of good saves in the Spurs goal, but for a 15 minute period before half time, Albion were never at the races.
After a subdued 45 minutes, I expected Pulis to rip into his players. But Albion started the second period as they had the first. Worryingly, Pulis seemed to give up on the game after Spurs’ early goals. For most of the game he stood with his hands in pockets talking to Dave Kemp. Maybe they were discussing an escape route.
COME ON YOU BAGGIES.
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