West Bromwich Albion v Spurs: The lowdown on Tony Pulis’ Baggies
12:00 30 January 2015
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Tottenham visit Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns tomorrow. Charlie Dear gives you the lowdown on the home team as they get used to life under their new manager.
The last time these two teams matched up in September, Alan Irvine earned his first win as West Brom manager with a surprise 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane.
That was immediately followed by more success against Hull and Burnley in the next two games, and then a 1-0 triumph at Leicester at the start of November – but Irvine only won one of his nine games after that, and was relieved of his duties at the end of 2014.
Tony Pulis was appointed on New Year’s Day, charged with performing his famous firefighting act yet again and dragging Albion out of the relegation scrap.
He started his reign with an emphatic 7-0 demolition of Blue Square Premier League side Gateshead in the third round of the FA Cup, and then a 1-0 win in a relegation scrap against Hull at The Hawthorns before a solid, organised unit secured a 0-0 draw at Everton.
Add Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Birmingham in the FA Cup and Pulis is unbeaten in his four games at West Brom, having won three of them, leaving fans optimistic that the Welshman can repeat his miracles at Stoke and Crystal Palace and beat the drop with his new club.
The Baggies will be without midfield enforcer Youssuf Mulumbu this weekend – he is away at the African Cup of Nations with Congo, who have progressed to the knockout rounds – and full-back Jason Davidson, who was signed in the summer from Dutch side Heracles Almelo, is in the Australia squad which is currently competing in the Asia Cup.
However, they signed winger Callum McManaman from Wigan on Wednesday.
Ones to watch…
England Under-21 international striker Saido Berahino has scored 14 goals in all competition for West Brom this season, attracting attention from the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham.
The youngster was banned from driving for a year and fined £3,400 after admitting to drink-driving in October, but he started 2015 with six goals in four games.
It was Victor Anichebe who did the damage against Birmingham in the cup on Saturday though, scoring both goals, and the Nigerian will be hope his performance can provide a springboard to greater things and a regular spot in the starting XI.
At the other end of the field, Albion have only conceded one goal under Pulis – partly thanks to Argentine Claudio Yacob, who has provided the muscle in midfield in the absence of Mulumbu.
Yacob only made seven appearances under Irvine in the first half of the season but has featured in all of Pulis’ four matches, starting the last three.
Tottenham would usually hope to beat the Baggies, home and away, but they have failed to do so in any of their last three meetings.
Last season, the sides drew 1-1 at White Hart Lane, with Christian Eriksen scoring for Spurs, and the Lilywhites then had to fight back from three goals down to earn a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Harry Kane was on target that day and Eriksen then scored an injury-time goal – which has become something of a habit.
The Baggies gained revenge at the Lane in September as James Morrison’s 74th-minute strike gave the visitors all three points.
Irvine only won two games at home during his tenure but Pulis will be hoping to make The Hawthorns a fortress for visiting teams following the 1-0 home over Hull three weeks ago. We’ll go for a 1-1 draw.