Back Pardew? or Sack Pardew?
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on March 23, 2016
Back Pardew? or Sack Pardew?
Alan Pardew, the miracle man from the 2014/15 season came in January 2015 for the Eagles. Winning his first league game against Spurs, Pardew quickly became even more of a fan favourite, and after scoring the winning goal in a 1990’s FA Cup semi-final for Palace, you could tell this would be a match made in heaven.
The Eagles finished a club-record 10th in the Premier League in that season, and Crystal Palace became a huge force and remarkably a tough team to play, especially when the Eagles visited your ground. After winning more away games than most, Crystal Palace were spoken of being ‘one of those teams’ that quite simply were a huge threat in the Premier League, and it was amazing to think that in that same season, we were threatened with relegation!
Pardew started the 2015/16 season off in fine form, and after signing players like Cabaye and Wickham, Crystal Palace found themselves in 5th position in the premier league by New Year’s Day! However, since that last win away at Stoke, which saw a late stunner from Palace’s Korean star, Chung-Yong Lee, Crystal Palace have failed to win a single league game, which no other club in the top four leagues in England has done. 12 games later, Crystal Palace have only been rewarded with 2 points and the horrid run of league form is still going on. The confusing part is, during these 12 league games, Crystal Palace have beaten 3 premier league teams in the FA cup including title-contender’s Spurs at White Hart Lane.
So what has gone wrong? Many Palace fans have been left wondering, is Pardew the man for Palace? Well, even though there are still loads of ‘Back Pardew’ fans, there are plenty of those who want him gone. Now, even though I am part of the ‘Back Pardew’ group of fans, I still have to question his tactics, because quite frankly something has gone wrong. With games against West Ham, Arsenal and Norwich at home, Pardew will be put under huge pressure to win, and despite West Ham and Arsenal being incredibly difficult sides, 14 games without a win is literally unacceptable. The game versus Norwich will be the biggest test of the season, and failing to win that, fans from Crystal Palace will be wondering whether their beloved team that found themselves in 5th position in January can beat the drop.
Injuries have stuttered our results, and with key players like Wickham, Bolasie, Puncheon and in my opinion, the most key player to Palace’s success, James McArthur out, Pardew’s men have found it incredibly difficult to cope without them. However, with these players coming back from injury, excluding McArthur, we still haven’t won which certainly either makes you question whether Pardew’s tactics have been found out, or it simply just shows how pivotal McArthur really is, who was injured in early February with Ankle Ligament damage.
Not only has Pardew’s tactics most likely been wrong, but the player’s attitudes have seemed to have dropped. Pape Souaré, who was incredible last season, and showed that same calibre at some points early this season, seems to have gone downhill, with his superb crosses stooping down to not being as good. Yohan Cabaye has notably dropped in form since McArthur’s injury too. Plenty of other players have dropped form too, but despite these players losing form, they still perform at class levels. It is unfair and actually incorrect to single out these players, because they have showed class and quality throughout this bad run too. But the consistency of some players is not to the same calibre as it was in December, and this could be another reason we find ourselves now battling against relegation. It is difficult to pin-point what has gone wrong, because in plenty of these games we have still played good football, and perhaps been unlucky at most times, but as the old saying goes: “You make your own luck.” – and of course it is true.
Of course, I hope Palace don’t go down this season, as our team genuinely has solid players, in which most could definitely play key parts in any Premier League team below 4th, and even some players like McArthur and Dann could feature above this position. I hope Pardew keeps his job, which is looking likely too, but a winless end to a brilliantly started season could definitely give Parish some thinking to do…