Crystal Palace sit six points off Premier League safety after a tough return to the top flight, but with Tony Pulis now in charge it would be a mistake to write them off completely.
I say this not because, I am a fan of Pulis' style of football. Its awful. The ninety minutes I spent watching Stoke play Wolves a few seasons back were some of the most boring, neck-pain inducing I have ever experienced.
But by appointing Pulis the Crystal Palace board have hit on the best plan for survival open to them.
Pulis has managed teams to Premier league survival in the recent past. He kept Stoke up for six years and might as well have 'been there, done that' stamped across his baseball hat.
His style of football is effective and proven. By contrast his two of his relegation rivals Fulham and Sunderland are being guided by managerial first timers. Rene Meulensteen might be a great coach but he has no significant experience as a number one. Sunderland's Gus Poyet ultimately failed to achieve promotion at Brighton and has no prior Premier League experience.
Secondly, the players Palace have to work with aren't as poor as their league position would assume. With Mile Jedinak and Barry Bannan the Eagles have the makings of a combative midfield, while Jason Puncheon is a winger who always poses a threat with his pace.
Perhaps most importantly though their defense is no worse than their rivals. Palace have conceded 22 goals. One fewer than Fulham, Norwich, Sunderland and not much worse than Swansea and Cardiff. Defensively they are at a similar level to the teams around them.
They aren't getting hammered week in week out, they are losing by the odd goal. A manager like Pulis should be able to instantly improve on this.
Thirdly, it won't be hard to adapt to Pulis' tactics. It's fair to say that Palace are going to play a somewhat direct game that seeks to get the ball from defence and attack as quickly as possible.
It shouldn't be too difficult to get for Pulis to get his players doing this. After all they are technically good enough. Plus if the players don't get on board with it then they can easily be replaced by hungry Championship players built like mountains.
I certainly wouldn't bet against Pulis keeping Palace up.
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