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Spurs v West Brom: Media view with Nigel Pearson of Sky Sports and TalkSport

Posted on 13 January 2017  - 10:50

A familiar voice on Sky Sports and talkSPORT, Nigel Pearson is a regular in the press box at The Hawthorns, so we tapped into his knowledge of the Baggies ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash at the Lane...

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Nigel Pearson
Broadcaster/commentator, Sky Sports/talkSPORT

nigel_pearsonWhat can you tell us about West Brom's form?
Nigel: "What they’ve mastered this season is big home results. In the last couple of months they’ve beaten Swansea, Watford, Burnley and Hull and that’s 12 points on the board. They also recently beat Southampton away and that was typical Tony Pulis, he sprung somewhat of a surprise by starting Hal Robson-Kanu instead of Salomon Rondon and of course, Robson-Kanu went and scored the winner! It’s also worth noting that the recent 1-0 defeats at Chelsea and Arsenal were both down to late goals (76 and 86 minutes respectively) and they could have easily walked away with draws from those games. They’ve beaten the teams they need to beat and going into this weekend’s game at the Lane, they are in a pretty good position, so why not try to kick on and secure a top 10 place? I covered the game between these teams at The Hawthorns back in October and I must say I thought West Brom deserved a point that day - remember, it was late goal to deny them again."

Below: Tony Pulis with Mauricio Pochettino at The Hawthorns in October

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Tony Pulis has built a team that is so tough to beat - what have you made of his time at The Hawthorns?
Nigel: "It’s two years since Tony Pulis replaced Alan Irvine as manager and I’ve seen a marked change with West Bromwich Albion. One thing you always have with Pulis is that you can never, ever question the effort, desire and passion of the players, they all play for that man. People like Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evans who have played at the highest level for Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson are digging deep every game, they all play for Tony Pulis, they work hard for him and he commands respect around the place. I’ve been at the training ground for press conferences and you can see there is a good atmosphere. There was a time at the start of this season where there was criticism of Tony Pulis’ style of play but what’s happened now is that Pulis, in my opinion, has more confidence in his players to go on the front foot from the start of games and play some good football - and they are capable of that, they are not just a one-dimensional team that parks the bus."

Below: Ben Foster denies Dele Alli at The Hawthorns in October

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Who have been the top performers at West Brom so far this season?
Nigel: "Ben Foster is still a top-notch goalkeeper, in my opinion, every bit as good as England can call on. He’s bounced back from a long injury lay-off. Gareth McAuley stands out and for me, he has been one of the best signings West Brom have made in their modern history, he’s 37 now and he’s been a model of consistency. Jonny Evans stands out, Matty Phillips has been a great signing but the return of Chris Brunt and James Morrison from injury have been like two new signings. I’m also a huge fan of Salomon Rondon up front. He’s a striker who can play up there on his own, hold the ball up and score goals and if he had someone alongside him, I’m sure he’d form a good partnership as well."

Below: Gareth McAuley

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How do you think Tony Pulis will approach this game and what have you made of Spurs?
Nigel: "Maybe the fact that West Brom lost late at Chelsea and Arsenal may impact on Tony Pulis’ thinking going into this one, perhaps they’ll have a go. Jonny Evans’ return is a big factor, when he’s out he’s a big miss for West Brom. Allan Nyom has also been a good signing and if he’s available, a settled back four has been key for West Brom, with Darren Fletcher and Claudio Yacob in front of them. Spurs have been great, I think they are having another tremendous season."

Below: Matt Phillips

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Finally, how do you think it will go on Saturday?
Nigel: "I’ll say because of Spurs’ form and class it will be 2-1 to Spurs, but at the same time I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 1-1 again! What I will also say is that if Spurs are going to win this game they know they will have to dig deep and work for it."