Darren Fletcher celebrates scoring West Brom's opening goal in the win over Sunderland
No money to spend. A manager who says it would make no difference even if they did. And a side with no stomach for an increasingly desperate survival scrap.
The only wonder was that David Moyes’ Black Cats bothered to even appear for this latest defeat, which leaves them rock bottom of the Premier League and three points from safety.
Whether Sunderland’s abysmal, gutless first-half performance should actually be described as ‘turning up’ is quite another matter.
Not that high-flying West Brom gave a jot about their opponents’ pathetic attitude.
Stunning first-half volleys from Darren Fletcher and Chris Brunt had them cruising to a ninth victory of a so-far superb campaign.
Chris Brunt celebrates after doubling West Brom's lead against Sunderland
Nothing has been going to plan for Sunderland pretty much from the start of a sorry season that has been spent permanently at the wrong end of the table.
And news that relegation rivals Swansea had pulled off a miraculous win at Liverpool was another savage blow.
It meant Moyes’ men were back in 20th place before kicking a ball in anger at the Hawthorns.
Well, ‘anger’ might be stretching it. The visitors barely seem bothered even when the clash was scoreless.
It might have been different had their one attempt of the opening period – a deflected Jermain Defoe shot– not dropped the wrong side of the bar.
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David Moyes' Sunderland remain rock bottom of the Premier League
But thereafter it was all West Brom as they set about securing a third win in four home outings – and consolidating their position within the top eight.
The only surprise was that it took them half an hour to break the deadlock. They should have been at least two up by then.
The breakthrough finally arrived seconds after Sunderland stopper Vito Mannone did superbly to stop Matt Phillips’ fierce drive..
Gareth McAuley flicked on the resulting corner and there was Fletcher to remind everyone of his class.
After controlling with his chest, the Albion skipper swiveled and unleashed a stunning volley into the opposite corner.
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The fact the ex-Manchester United ace Fletcher managed the feat with his wrong left peg made it even more impressive.
Pulis’ rampant troops then went into overdrive – and six minutes later deservedly doubled the advantage.
Winger Phillips, as he is most weeks here, was the creator, nutmegging sluggish John O’Shea to carve out a sitter for Nacer Chadli.
Only six yards out, the ex-Spurs star somehow contrived hit the bar rather than the back of the net.
It mattered not, though, because, when the rebound fell to Brunt, he showed how it should be done, striking a thunderous first-time peach past helpless Mannone.
West Brom: Foster 7; Nyom 6, McAuley 7, Dawson 6; Brunt 7, Fletcher 9, Yacob 6, Chadli 8 (McClean 80th), Morrison 7 (Livermore 72nd) 7), Phillips 6; Rondon 7 (Ronson-Kanu 87th)
Sunderland: Mannone 7; Jones 5, O'Shea 5, Djilobodji 5, van Aanholt 5; Denayer 6 (Borino 79th), Rodwell 5, Honeyman 5, Januzaj 5 (Anichebe (66th) 6) , Larsson 6; Defoe 7
Referee: C Pawson