Pulis best in the Buisness

This season was a highly anticipated one mainly because of the pedigree of manager that now occupied our league. We have Mourinho, Klopp and now even Guardiola and as lovers of the game, it is a real treat when these great coaches come up against one another. However, there is one manager that has been ever present in the Premier League for some time now, and that man is Tony Pulis.

Pulis has done a phenomenal job at every club he has been at and at times , I believe, he hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves. He did a brilliant job at Stoke getting them into the Premier League and then making  them a stable Premier League side rarely being threatened by relegation. His work at Palace perhaps is the most astonishing achievement. Taking a team destined for relegation to 11th in the table over a short period of time was an outstanding bit of success for Pulis ultimately earning him  the Premier League manager of the season award. The thing we also have to remember is that Pulis works his magic with limited funds. He brings in players for little money but one’s he knows can do a job in his team. At times yes he doesn’t get the funding he wants and therefore the players, hence his abrupt departure from Palace, but he is brilliant at making do with what he has.

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Pulis left Palace after only 10 months in charge

It seems its a similar story at West Brom. It was clear to all that Pulis didn’t bring in all the players he wanted in the summer and there were questions over whether he would walk just as he did at Palace. On the other hand, the players he has brought in seem to have already had the desired affect. No more so than club record signing Nacer Chadli. Some where surprised at the fact that Spurs allowed the Belgian international to leave and that decision may come back to haunt them based on his early performances for the Baggies. He ran West Ham ragged on Saturday playing a part in all 4 goals scored providing an assist for one and netting 2 himself. He also linked up superbly with striker Salomón Rondón who after a slow start to his West Brom career, finally looks like he could score the goals for his team.

Now I think Pulis himself wouldn’t be naive enough to rule out a relegation fight. However, as a team, West Brom have a manager who has been there and done that. Furthermore they haven’t made that bad a start to the season with  7 points from 5 games which isn’t horrendous and travelling to bottom club Stoke on Saturday they will fancy their chances. On the other hand, I think that if they ever did suffer a poor run of form the fans would be quietly confident because in Tony Pulis they have one hell of a manager.

 

Townsend finally to fulfil Potential ?

Many believed that when Andros Townsend broke into the Spur’s side following the departure of Gareth Bale back in 2013, he would be there for the long haul. However, for whatever reason, the last couple of year’s haven’t gone to plan. Due to lengthy injuries and falling out of favour under Pochettino, Townsend Spurs career came to an abrupt end early on. It didn’t really go much better at Newcastle either being part of the dismal team that fell through the trap door into the championship. At times it wasn’t his fault as he often put in fine performances and scored some brilliant goals but ultimately it was in vain. Now Townsend has returned to London and despite a slow start for Palace, there are signs he could be rediscovering the form he once showed for Tottenham not too long ago.

Alan Pardew knew that last season Palace struggled  for goals, hence the acquisition of Christian Benteke from Liverpool. For Benteke to score the required goals, he needs service, balls into the box. With the loss of key winger Bolasie to Everton there have been questions over whether they can get the big Belgian the ammunition he requires. Zaha of course is a similar player but he has struggled to find any real consistency since his return to Palace back in 2014. However, in Townsend they may have found a like for like replacement for the Congo international.

This was certainly the case during Palace’s dismantlement of Stoke on Sunday. Despite not scoring Benteke must have been delighted with the quality of crosses coming into the box especially those from the left which was the area occupied by Townsend. At every opportunity he took on his man, usually beating him, and whipped in some of the best crosses you’ll see. It’s not just the assist’s that Townsend brings to the team but it’s also that goal threat. That was often the criticism of Bolasie during his Palace career that he failed to score the goals that matched his ability as a whole. Townsend on the other hand is never afraid to shoot, as we saw against Stoke with his goal, and he possess’s one of the deadliest right foot’s in the league.

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Townsend (centre) scored his first goal for Palace against Stoke on Sunday

Townsend’s return to form is a welcome one not just for Palace, but also for England. Perhaps unlucky not to go to the Euro’s in the summer, if Townsend continues his current form surely he will be in Big Sam’s plans. Of course its early days yet and Townsend’s renaissance could be a short one. However, at least he knows at Palace he is guaranteed first team football and if you asked the lad, I’m pretty sure that is all he has ever wanted.