It’s fair to say that Alan Pardew has turned Crystal Palace’s fortunes around spectacularly in the month of September. On August 28 he was 5/2 to be the next Premier League manager to leave. Fast forward a month and he’s a 25/1 outsider in the market.
So, with the man nicknamed ‘Pardiola’ overseeing a real revival at Selhurst Park, has he found the formula for success?
Well, he’s certainly found a settled side. Palace have only started 13 different players in their last three Premier League games, with the creative Andros Townsend and Jason Puncheon beginning to provide excellent service to the sizeable and skilful Christian Benteke.
The former Newcastle United boss has also built a side who work tactically. The pace of Zaha and Townsend makes Palace a natural counter-attacking side, while McCarthur and Ledley work well as a deeper-lying central midfield pair, with the former full of skill and trickery, and the latter more of an enforcer.
And the Palace boss has done well to keep the team’s shape even in the face of injuries. Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy have both been kept out by injury, but have hardly been missed with McCarthur playing the midfield creator role, and Benteke leading the line well.
One criticism levelled at Pardew’s side last season was an inability to see out games.
They dropped 15 points in the Premier League from winning positions last season, but this year, the newer, tougher Palace are grabbing games by the scruff of the neck when it matters – just as they did in the weekend’s 3-2 comeback win at Sunderland.
The test now will be in facing sides of a higher quality than recent conquests Middlesbrough, Stoke and Sunderland, with clashes against Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City in the next month.
But with confidence high, a settled defence and a handful of top-quality players yet to return, there’s every chance of Palace upsetting some big names and continuing their rise up the Premier League table.
Palace are in action on Friday against Everton at Selhurst Park, with 15/4 for the visitors to enjoy a third win in four visits to Goodison Park.
With form and results rapidly improving, the 6/4 for Palace to finish in the Premier League’s top half looks like excellent value, and this also seems the ideal time to jump on a top-six finish for the Eagles at the sizeable price of 28/1.
While Pardew hasn’t solved all of Palace’s woes in September, he’s certainly transformed their fortunes enormously and sends them into a tough run of fixtures in impressive shape.
Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing