It’s amazing what a couple of weeks can do. Just a fortnight ago it seemed as though Tony Pulis’ time at West Bromwich Albion was all but over after being in pole position in the Premier League sack race. So what’s changed at the Black Country outfit, and can Pulis afford to relax?
Despite the negativity which has hovered over the Hawthorns in recent weeks, it’s actually been a fairly decent start for the Baggies, who are currently sitting in 10th place in the league. Of their opening six games, they’ve won two, drawn two and lost two, conceding just six goals in the process.
That puts them just two points behind Chelsea and one ahead of last year’s champions Leicester City, while the relegation zone seems miles away. Not bad for a team that was tipped for relegation before a ball was kicked.
And while Albion fans were hardly satisfied with their club’s transfer activity in the summer, it’s so far, so good for the new arrivals.
Everton loanee Brendan Galloway and Allon Nyom, who arrived on Deadline Day from Watford, both add quality and width to a defensive unit which has been lacking in the latter in recent years.
Meanwhile, Nacer Chadli has already shown glimpses of his ability, most notably against West Ham where he stole the show by scoring two and assisting the same amount in a 4-2 victory.
The former Tottenham Hotspur man looks to have already developed a great understanding with Salomon Rondon, and in the three games in which they’ve played together they already have four goals between them.
Despite what some fans may say, there’s also strength in depth in this side. The arrival of two defenders in the summer means Pulis can rotate his back line if need be more so than ever before.
And his willingness to give first-team opportunities to younger players such as Jonathan Leko and Sam Field mean that there’s always a handful of reliable and experienced options to call upon from the bench.
Up next for the Baggies is a trip to Sunderland, who are bottom of the table with just one point to their name.
And Pulis’ men can heap more misery on the north-east outfit by stretching their winless run in the league to eight games. The visitors are 2/1 to take all three points from the Stadium of Light.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing