Terry Wills on Albion’s change in fortunes.
What about that then? A complete change of fortunes on and off the field. Gone the abysmal display at Reading, the coin throwing incident and the furore that subsequently made national headlines.
They were replaced with overwhelming fan support for Chris Brunt in addition to a rare display of attacking football that in the first half left Crystal Palace chasing veritable shadows. Why and how? I can’t help think that despite Tony Pulis’ rejection of supporters criticism concerning his ultra-defensive policy it did leave him deciding to modify the attacking options.
Saido Berahino, fresh from his apology to the club and fans showed just what the Baggies had been missing. Sharp as a tack, ready to tackle back and chase, capped by a superb volleyed goal. This plus strikes from Craig Gardner and Craig Dawson put Albion in the driving seat and it was only a horrendous defensive error that enabled Palace to claw a goal back, notch a second, and go close to snatching a result.
On to the visit to tackle Leicester City, the side that most neutral supporters hope will eventually finish as champions. Pre-match, every national pundit stressed that it would be three more points for the Foxes. Logical, of course, but Albion took at the opposing view. Salomon Rondon gave them a shock lead, Leicester responded with two goals and all was lost? Try telling that to a side that refused to bow under the pressure.
A great free-kick, equaliser, game on. Relentless pressure, Ben Foster working overtime, every player giving 100% and at the final whistle leaving Tony Pulis and Baggies fans lauding their non-stop, wouldn’t give in efforts.
This week another Sunday televised game that’s certain to attract a capacity crowd ses Manchester United at the Hawthorns. The Reds, despite recent criticism, are beginning to play more like the old United, aided by youngsters who have made the step up to their first team seamlessly.
Naturally, in company with all Baggies devotees I’m wondering if Tony Pulis will continue to encourage an attacking policy that’s seen five goals from the last two games (I repeat, FIVE), or will it be back to his traditional cautious approach ? I suspect the latter but however it turns out I do anticipate 90 plus minutes of entertaining (?) football.