Should West Brom consider changing formation to a 3-5-2?

Tony Pulis Interview - 23/02/2014

West Brom should look at changing to a 3-5-2 system.

Tony Pulis is a devout 4-4-2 coach, and has played his entire career utilising the formation which allows him to field two solid banks of four in a defensive system.

However, this is having little success with West Brom, and the players he has at his disposal are not overly suited to playing a 4-4-2. He has a large number of centre-backs, no natural full-backs that he is willing to play, and a strong selection of defensive midfielders.

Whilst Pulis may believe in the strengths of the 4-4-2, he should really consider changing system with the Baggies to one which suits his squad much better - a 3-5-2.

He can call upon a strong central three of Gareth McAuley, Jonny Evans and Jonas Olsson, whilst the lack of a natural left-back would be solved by playing Chris Brunt as a wing-back.

He has shown defensive aptitude as a makeshift left-back, but playing further forward will allow him to continue his attacking threat.

Darren Fletcher and Claudio Yacob can continue their defensive partnership in midfield, with one of James Morrison, James McClean or Callum McManaman taking up a number 10 role as the prime creator in the side.

Saido Berahino and Salomon Rondon can then play upfront, utilising a classic big-man/little-man strike partnership.

The only troublesome position is a right wing-back, although it is Christian Gamboa’s natural position - if Pulis was to show faith in him - whilst McClean or McManaman could drop into that wide role if Pulis wanted an increased attacking threat.

The system would allow the Baggies to dominate possession with three central midfielders - two of them strong in the tackle and safe with possession - whilst the wing-backs would mean Pulis’ preferred style of wide attacking play remains a threat.

There are no apparent downsides to Pulis changing his West Brom set-up to a 3-5-2, and considering the recent struggled the Baggies have been facing, Pulis should seriously think about breaking tradition and changing his 4-4-2 to a much more useful tactical system.

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