Tony Pulis and Crystal Palace - a good appointment

November 22, 2013 in Premier League by Ben Said Scott

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It is likely that Crystal Palace will be relegated. It was likely at the final whistle of the play-off final last year. It was likely at the first whistle of the first game. It was likely on transfer deadline day after 15 new players had been brought in. It was even likely after their 3-1 victory over my team Sunderland; no matter how much Holloway danced, the jump from likely relegation candidates in the Championship to Premier League side was far too big for one season.

Ian Holloway

With this in mind, a monumental task seemed even bigger once Ian Holloway resigned, much to everyone’s surprise, including Steve Parish (co-chairman of the Eagles), following the 4-1 defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Fulham. It has been almost a month since that has happened. Palace are bottom (their only other point coming from a 0-0 draw with Everton), six points from safety, and with a whole month left before any squad alterations can come in, they are at risk of being relegated with the lowest points total ever.

It would, I think, take a miracle to keep them up, so unless they convince God (or other equivalent deity) to take over, the incoming manager should not be expected to keep them up; instead, their new manager should be one of promise who can stabilise the team and use the Premier Leagye resources. It must have been worrying then, as for the last few weeks, names like Iain Dowie and Dan Petrescu have been favourites for the job. However, one name in the frame has seemed to fit well, that of Tony Pulis.

Pulis2

While questions over Pulis’ style of football should be asked, his success can’t be questioned. At Stoke, he built a formidable team on the pitch, and invested well off it, building the foundations of a financially stable Premier League side; no mean feat considering the size of the support at Stoke, which isn’t the biggest. If he can get in some of those foundations using the money from this season’s television deals, then they should be able to put up a strong challenge in the Championship next season.

The squad he inherits will need to be bolstered somewhat in January, and I am sure that Pulis wouldn’t have agreed to take the job without being promised enough money to do something with. He will probably have big ideas already in place. Fairly literally too I would imagine; most of his Stoke side were over 6 feet tall and strong. Ian Holloway, in contrast, preferred the shorter quicker type, short, fast to play to feet and move, the sort of game that made Wilfried Zaha so effective last season. Don’t be surprised to see some giants come through the gates at the turn of the year.

Until then though, Pulis will have to rely on the defence. Strikers like Marouane Chamakh and Dwight Gayle have failed to hit the heights needed and expected of them. They have not been able to attack particularly effectively, but more worryingly, they have also been leaky at the back. Danny Gabbidon and Damien Delaney need to tighten up the defence, and Pulis will help with this, probably dropping Mile Jedinak even further back and getting in someone to work alongside him with more energy to get up and join the attack. If they can do this, then they should be able to grind out enough results to not embarrass themselves this season.

Jedinak

If they can do that and keep the morale high, then they should be in a strong position for an assault on the Championship next season. With Pulis at the helm, they stand a better chance than without him; while that might not be enough to stay up, it might just be enough to get them back to the Premier League in the long run.

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