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Is is Tony Pulis’s fault the Premier League is boring?

Tottenham Hotspur fans were left incredibly frustrated after only picking up a draw against West Brom last weekend.

The Baggies managed to grind out a 1-1 draw at home despite only having 28.8% of the possession – one of the lowest figures this season.

Afterwards, Spurs fans couldn’t believe they hadn’t come away with a win and criticised Tony Pulis’s negative tactics, which revolved around sitting deep, soaking up any pressure and trying to hit Spurs on the break.

Most couldn’t fathom how the West Brom fans could stand to watch their side play like that – especially at home.

It’s not the first time Pulis has employed these types of tactics in the Premier League. The Baggies rank joint lowest for possession with an average of 40.6%, the same as Burnley.

It is not just Pulis who has taken the flak for parking the bus, with Jose Mourinho also coming for criticism in Monday’s 0-0 bore draw away to Liverpool.

Jose Mourinho

Both managers have been accused of being “anti-football” in the past and while they share a preference for defensive tactics they have something else in common – neither of them lost.

It’s easy to see why football fans get annoyed when they see games like those at the Hawthorns and Anfield, especially when they have witnessed the delightful passing of Manchester City and Arsenal or Klopp’s ‘heavy metal’ football with Liverpool on TV.

The Red Devils in particular may be jealous of those teams and wonder why – with all the money spent on top players – they can’t match that style of football.

Some United fans and pundits have come out in Mourinho’s defence, with the BBC’s Phil McNulty making the point that Mourinho shouldn’t be criticised for not allowing Liverpool to play their game.

Pulis is even more justified in this when you consider the players he has at his disposal, which are nowhere near the likes of United, City, Liverpool or indeed most sides in the Premier League.

It has been well-publicised that Pulis did not get a number of his preferred transfer targets this summer, highlighted by the fact he had Momo Sissoko and Maroune Chamakh on trial towards the end of the window. Any side with Chamakh up front shouldn’t be expected to play tiki-taka.

Tony Pulis

What Pulis does have is a tall side, one of the tallest in the league (Pulis would be able to field an entire squad of six foot plus players if he wanted to) with a large number of defenders who only really play centre half.

Some of those defenders play as full-backs, however, like Dawson and Galloway who generally tuck in and make a wall not just because it makes them defensively solid, but because that’s what they are best at. He also gets a large proportion of goals from set pieces because, again, that’s their strength.

But should Pulis have to justify that approach at all? After all, surely every tactic that is within the rules of the game is just as valid as the next?

While we all love to see intricate passes and exciting attacking play not every team should be playing that way or the game would become boring, with each team playing the same and no need for attacking developments.

If that were the case, we wouldn’t have Atletico Madrid La Liga triumph of 2014 or even Leicester’s shock Premier League victory last year.

And sometimes having an attacking side like City facing a brick wall like West Brom makes it all the more exciting when they break through.

The bottom line is that managers like Pulis are doing what they can to get results. After all if they hadn’t abandoned the passing policy brought in by managers like Tony Mowbray, they probably wouldn’t still be in the Premier League.

Perhaps those fans getting so angry at Pulis should look inwards and let the Welshman get on with what he is doing best.

Article title: Is is Tony Pulis’s fault the Premier League is boring?

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