Pulis's methods prove successful once again
By Cam Melling
One home match for Tony Pulis and one win. Not bad the man type casted as the villain of modern day football. The man who has destroyed what we all want from football. But doubters have forgotten, he is the man who has never been relegated in 21 years of management.
It seems like the direct approach, which is so often used as an insult against him, has worked once more for Pulis. Crystal Palace's 1-0 victory over West Ham last night was only his new side's third of the season - a result which has lifted them off the bottom of the Premier League table.
The match was typical of one that has defined the 55-year-old as a manager. Less possession, less shots and more fouls committed. Something unsurprising to Stoke City fans and something which will soon be very familiar to their Palace counterparts soon. Although this will surely be something the Eagles fans will not get tired of, if their points tally continues to rise.
Last night was another match in which the doubters had to eat their words. Their continuous bombardment of theories on the 'right way' to play football had driven the Welshman out of Stoke City. Once the fans at the Britannia Stadium had had their heads turned by those theorists, there was no way back for Pulis.
This was despite not finishing below 14th in all five of his seasons in charge of the Potters in the Premier League. He established the then Championship quality side as a mainstay of the country's top tier. Not forgetting the fact that he took the side to the FA Cup final in 2011, only to fall at the final hurdle against an emerging Manchester City side.
There seemed to be no winning with the Potters faithful. Four yours of mixing it with the big boys and a trip to Wembley was not enough. They wanted more.
He responded in his fifth term in charge in the Premier League by bringing in the flair of Michael Kightly, Brek Shea and Michael Owen. Yet, now that Pulis had started to distance himself from his successful approach, the results started to go against him. Three wins in his last 18 games in charge of Stoke merely cranked up the pressure and he left at the end of the season, last May.
Fast forward seven months after his departure and reverting to what he knows best, Pulis is attempting to preserve his age old record of avoiding relegation but this time at Selhurst Park.
In Tuesday night's win, Palace attempted just 265 passes with only 63 percent of those being completed. That means the Eagles completed just 166 passes in over 90 minutes of football.
Nowadays a stat like that will be frowned upon - but it should not be. Tiki-taka is not the only way to play football. There is no right way to play football, only a way to win matches and if Pulis interprets that as pumping the ball forward, then that is how he chooses. Besides, it usually proves successful for his sides.