Football clubs are too quick to sack their managers, so why should CPFC sack Alan Pardew?
On the 30th September, Crystal Palace football club played arguably their best performance of the season to play their part in a hard fought 1–1 draw with Everton FC. While, many believe this draw and the previous 3 straight wins signaled how tactically astute Alan Pardew was, I and a few others remain unconvinced.
The first of the aforementioned wins in the 16/17 season arrived away at Middlesbrough, a 2–1 win where Boro played within themselves and Mandanda was our savior, the second, a convincing 4–1 home win against a dejected Stoke and the third a last minute 3–2 win against a hapless Sunderland. So, this toppled with the two 1–1 draws against Bournemouth and Everton respectively has accumulated in 11 points from 11 games.
So why are things so bad?
In the summer of 2016, Crystal Palace signed Christian Benteke, a marquee record signing, a real sign of the vision from our ambitious owners.
After the signing, football pundits and commentators alike were quick to comment on how astute a signing this was “a move to a club like CPFC will resurrect his career as they will most definitely play to his strengths” one such stated. While, the signing made sense, the way CPFC have played following the signing would leave many opposing EPL coaches hopeful for their chances against the club.
Palace propose playing a 4–2–3–1, however, in reality it progresses to a 4–2–3–1 going forward and a 4–5–1 when under pressure. While, the clinical aerical threat of Benteke has always been ridiculed for his lack of mobility, so playing this system, by effectively winning a dual with Benteke in the air, as the opposing team, you often find yourselves winning the ball high up the pitch, with a lot of time to dictate play because of Benteke’s mobility issues. As a result, opposing teams can string a barrage of meaningful balls in behind the CPFC back line which coincidentally after Souare’s car accident has an evident lack of pace. This, potentially explains the 10 goals conceded in the last 3 games.
So, how has this effected results?
Obviously, these increases in the goals conceded column will mean gaining points become a difficulty. However, as Benteke plays a lone role up the pitch, the difficulty is magnified as other then individual moments of individual brilliance or mistakes, doubling up on Benteke is the most successful way of mitigating the danger caused by CPFC.
But they still have good wingers like Townsend and Zaha?
Also, playing this way means the balls both England hopefuls receive are in deep positions, with such, other then the proposed moments of pure brilliance (i.e. beating four players and crossing a ball for a well marked Benteke), CPFC have a persisting lack of threat and as such they are very predictable (and easy)to play against.
Why does this mean Pardew should be sacked?
Pardew has shown during his managerial career that he is often reluctant to adapt and change his tactics drastically (an ego thing, simply a lack of understanding or he still believes in his ideas). Nonetheless, without said tactical changes in the long term, CPFC will continue to be predictable, play nice football (at times) and continue to be ‘unlucky’. Therefore, without taking on managerial responsibility, this will lead to CPFC hovering in the bottom 5 at the turn of the year. As a consequence, Pardew will then enter the transfer market to gamble and purchase continental players, whom may or may not improve the weaknesses of the system he enjoys playing and may or may not get results needed to stay in the EPL.
However, because of this uncertainty, it is clear fresh ideas are needed at the club, a new system that incorporates our exciting wingers, creates a balance between our best player James McArthur and either Ledley, Puncheon and Cabaye. A system that doesn’t come across primitive by simply involving repeated ‘long balls’ to the ‘physical threat’ Benteke. Coincidentally, the very need for this new system was highlighted by the introduction of Connor Wickham while 2–0 down today, as changing the team to a flat 4–4–2 made the team dynamic and unpredictable, an ever present threat up top, culminating in two relatively quick goals. Although, this was ultimately meaningless when Sean Dyche’s gamble paid off and Burnley scored a well worked goal in the last minute.
Nonetheless, to date, it’s not the players fault we are not getting the results needed from a talented set of players, the best of my generation, it is the manager.
So with just 5 wins in 34 games, our results cannot be solely down to our under performing players.
Please let me know what you think? (it’s just my badly constructed thoughts).