Pragmatic is the polite way to describe the perceptions of Tony Pulis’ tactics. Critics have labelled him a long ball merchant but his Crystal Palace side was an exciting, counter-attacking team.
And this Albion side are into the top 10 playing good football. Yes they scored from set pieces and defend them well.
But Phillips, Fletcher, Chadli, Morrison, Brunt and co are all good footballers, as they underlined here in a well-worked second goal.
Read James Nursey five things in the Mirror here
Sunderland enjoyed a good share of possession, as they would expect against an opponent happy to soak up pressure. Yet they were seldom able to create even the promise of a chance, let alone a genuine opportunity.
Albion have won five of their last six matches at the Hawthorns, putting 15 goals past their opponents.
Manager Tony Pulis, who has struggled for two years to win over sceptical Albion fans, now has them singing his name.
“The atmosphere was fantastic again,” Pulis said. “This could have been a banana skin because it was a game we were expected to win so we’re really pleased.”
Read the full report from the Telegraph here.
At the heart of everything the Baggies did was Matt Phillips. Playing on the right of the Albion attack and facing up against Patrick van Aanholt, the winger was not only quick and strong but composed and smart.
Admittedly, Phillips managed to get in the way of Albion’s first clear chance as he inadvertently blocked Salomón Rondón’s close-range header after 28 minutes.
Sixty seconds later he made amends. His low shot forced Vito Mannone into a stretching save and a corner.
Phillips ran over to take it and drifted the ball into the box. He found a West Brom head, then another and a third, before the ball came to Fletcher on the penalty spot. The captain took it on the chest, span and hit a right-foot volley into the top corner. It was a goal reminiscent of Bryan Robson, another Manchester United and West Brom midfielder.
Read the rest of the rest of the report from the Guardian here.
Sunderland hit rock-bottom on Saturday – twice.
Firstly before kick-off, when Swansea City stunned Liverpool by winning at Anfield which left the Black Cats propping up the Premier League, three points from safety.
And secondly in an opening 45 minutes against West Bromwich Albion in which it appeared at times that some players simply threw in the towel.
Sunderland’s squad has been stretched to breaking point by injuries and international call-ups, we all know that, and it has stripped the Black Cats of many of their key players.
But the very least that David Moyes and – more importantly – the fans are entitled to expect is that whatever XI takes to the field, they show commitment to the cause.
And that was sadly lacking at The Hawthorns.
Read James Hunter full verdict on Sunderland’s woes here.