Yesterday in South London, a football club that is not good enough for the Premier League fired a manager that is not good enough for the Premier League. I don't think Crystal Palace supporters will be too upset by that sentiment. After all, the club is just three years removed from narrowly escaping relegation to League One and total financial disaster, not to mention a P. Diddy takeover bid that tragically never materialized. But a few short years ago, you would often see "Ian Holloway" and the phrase "continental football" combined in a sentence on a frighteningly regular basis (also popular: "breath of fresh air" and "attacking philosophy.") These were the heady days of 2010/2011. When relegated midfielders made Player of the Year shortlists and the League Cup was never won or even spoken of, Ian Holloway was briefly regarded as a quality manager rather than a tiresome blowhard. As the years have passed, we've progressed as a people and we know that football clubs can do better than hiring media darlings devoid of tactical nous and "football men" with outdated philosophies that have long since....uh hold on just a second...WHAT THE HELL
I THOUGHT WE WERE RID OF THIS GUY. Synonymous with "unwatchable football," Tony Pulis finally got the axe at Stoke City this summer after the club realized that he had spent a lot of money to remain completely terrible. When not ruining football games from the sidelines like a mole rat in a baseball cap, Pulis' hobbies include "headbutting his players while naked" and "cheating his way out of speeding tickets." Crystal Palace's chairman, Steve Parish, notes that Pulis has never been relegated from the Premier League. He probably didn't intend it to sound like a dare, but there you have it.
Over on Twitter, Ted Knutson effectively summarizes the case against Pulis in five parts:
Alright, since @eaamalyon brought it up - here is the case against Tony Pulis as manager. While at Stoke his net spend was jawdropping.— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) October 24, 2013
By that I mean for the 5 years in the PL under Pulis, Stoke were 4th in spending, 9M total behind Manchester United. Additionally, the style— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) October 24, 2013
of uber-practicality, was a) soul-crushing to watch and b) grew less and less effective each season. It's also statistically bad for winning— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) October 24, 2013
Compare that to what Swansea and Southampton have done with far less money. If Palace want Pulis until end of season to try and survive, OK— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) October 24, 2013
A long-term deal would be a backwards step, especially if they let him get involved in the transfer market, where he is an epic failure— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) October 24, 2013
Speaking of unlikeable managers, Jose Mourinho has left another club reeling in his wake. Elliott Turner takes a look back on Mourinho's decidedly mixed time at Real Madrid and comes to the conclusion that Carlo Ancelotti will be a welcome rebound for the club and their supporters.
Ben Pugsley's must-read notes column, cross-posted on StatsBomb, is filled as ever with intelligent analysis and some valuable education on advanced stats as they apply to the Premier League. There are a lot of words dedicated to how Sunderland and Crystal Palace are already as good as relegated (in October!) and some interesting notes on who has been carrying the load for Arsenal's hot streak and whether that's going to be sustainable.