As West Brom slump to 10th, does Tony Pulis deserve criticism for his post 40 point form?

As West Brom slump to 10th, does Tony Pulis deserve criticism for his post 40 point form?

West Brom picked up just five points in 12 games after virtually securing safety. That's not good enough for many, but is it for Tony Pulis?

Oliver Emmerson

As West Bromwich Albion ticked over the 40 point mark back in February, there was cautious optimism that since they'd achieved the checkpoint so early, they could really kick on and secure an impressive position for themselves ahead of the summer. 

However, twelve games and just five points later, the Baggies' optimism was faded, leaving many fans wondering how they'll manage to beat rivals to key targets in the summer.

From hammering to holidaying 

As West Brom came from behind to beat AFC Bournemouth on February 25, they moved onto the magic mark and were just four points behind seventh placed Everton. Adding to that, Tony Pulis' men were seven ahead of any below them. 

The gap to Everton did increase as West Brom failed to pick up any points from their next two games, losing at home to Crystal Palace and then at Goodison Park, but hope of a strong finish wasn't lost, despite warnings from supporters of Pulis' ex-clubs. 

The Baggies bounced back from the Everton thumping by hammering Arsenal, a win that would turn out to be their only one of the season after reaching 40 points. 

A draw at Manchester United followed that up to keep spirits high, but things dropped dramatically after Old Trafford. Seven defeats and a draw in their last eight games, scoring just six times, resigned the Baggies to 10th - just five points ahead of 17th placed Watford

Any excuses, Tony?

One of the points Pulis made after the Bournemouth game was how well West Brom had done with such a small squad. 

He was right, in fairness. With only around 15/16 senior pro's at hand, plus the likes of Sam Field and Jonathan Leko, he'd achieved wonderful things again.

Speaking of the chance of renewed investment in the summer, Pulis said that additions need to be made but under no circumstances could he criticise the group of players he's worked with this season.

Maybe, something he now regrets. 

Perhaps it was inevitable. After all, say Pulis had guided West Brom to 40 points after 35 games, would he be lambasted? Probably not. Adding to that, had they not won their final three in that hypothetical season, criticism would have likely come from few quarters. 

Wasted opportunities, lack of progression?

On the other hand though, some may argue that is part of the problem. People recognise Pulis' talents, but drop off after drop off after reaching 40 points (West Brom failed to win a game after doing so last season), only increase the exasperation amongst some that he seems to have a ceiling at clubs.

With transfer targets seemingly stretching to a budget of around £30million, Pulis will have to spend wisely this summer.

His argument at the negotiating table will only be made more difficult by the finish to the season, leaving the casual onlooking foreign player seeing the Baggies in the middle of a scrap for top half, rather than streaks ahead in eighth. 

Who knows, it could have even been seventh. Admittedly, Everton presented a tough challenge, but the 21 points from 12 games that would have been required on reflection doesn't look too difficult if they bust a gut trying. A credible eighth would have been a comfortable fallback, also.  

Pulis' job security remains fairly stable despite the debacle, yet it seems fair to assume that it does no favours to his chances of future jobs, especially with such a clamour out there to try and find English managers the 'top jobs'.

Maybe next season will be the one for Pulis and Albion to really push on after hitting the big 40. Failure to do so this time has only caused disappointment.