Believe it or not, one has to go all the way back to a friendly against Bristol Rovers in July 2015 to find the last time that West Bromwich Albion put four goals past an opponent. The thing is, you probably can believe it, because West Brom are managed by Tony Pulis, and he harbours a notorious hatred of goals, attacking football and all mankind. He grimaces at the thought of West Brom supporters enjoying his tenure, as he formulates a perfect gameplan that consists of Craig Dawson lumping balls to Salomon Rondon, and back again, forever. In the mind of Tony Pulis, the footballing ideal is a perpetual goalless draw, a goalless draw which exists in eternity, a ceaseless ticker tape of 0-0 scorelines rotating endlessly around an empty Soccer Saturday studio, taunting the skeletal remains of Geoff Stelling as the dust of Phil Thompson, Paul Merson and Matt Le Tissier mingles with the trickling sands of time.
Tony Pulis is a managerial misanthrope, see. He despises us, despises us for shunning his ways, and so he seeks to bring down the Premier League by means of inescapable tedium. He is subverting the system, undermining the product, toppling the accepted status quo of 'goals' and 'passing' and 'controlled tackling' and 'fun'. Through stunning feats of persistent non-scoring, he seeks to make his goalless dream a reality. Then, and only then, will we realise the true might of Tony Pulis. Then, and only then, will we respect his terrible power.
This leaves us with the pressing question: how on earth did West Ham United conspire to ship four to West Brom on the weekend? West Ham's defence was so abject, so disorganised, that they managed to concede four times to a side which has been set up by a man whose life is a single-minded crusade against goals. Tony Pulis was probably screaming at his side from the sidelines, telling them to get back into two banks of four, and still they could not help but bang a handful past Adrián. Slaven Bilic clearly has some serious work to do, starting with the laborious task of soldering some moving parts onto James Collins.
While West Ham have been left in a worrying 18th position by the loss, Tony Pulis has been plunged into a profound existential crisis. When he thinks of the joy those goals brought to the West Brom faithful, he screams in frustration, devastated by the idea that someone might actually enjoy watching his team play. He tears open his polyester tracksuit, and stamps his beloved cap into the cold, hard earth. Then he laughs, laughs hysterically, and throws his head back in a primal howl at the empty, uncaring skies.