Now that’s more like it.
When Crystal Palace fought their way back into the Premier League in 2013, no one expected them to stick around for any great length of time.
They were a Championship team, with Championship players, a Championship manager and a Championship budget.
You looked at them, and surmised they were destined for the drop.
And for the first few games of that 2013 season, it seemed like that particular prophecy would be fulfilled. Palace sank like a stone. Then something big happened.
Ian Holloway quit, and Tony Pulis took over.
We’ve written at length about Palace’s miraculous resurgence under Pulis, and I think it’s fair to say that there has never been an upturn in form quite like it.
The Eagles were rooted to the bottom when the Welshman took over, and as soon as he took the helm they stopped losing and started winning…and winning and winning.
By the end of the season, they’d climbed nine places to 11th, going from being Championship-level cannon fodder to an established mid-table Premier League side.
What was even more amazing was that despite Pulis leaving on the eve of the next season, the South London club actually did even better the following year, with Alan Pardew performing a similar, but perhaps less impressive rescue mission at Selhurst Park.
Tony Pulis walks out on Crystal Palace back in 2014. pic.twitter.com/et3AbS8Qc7
— RedNBlueArmy.co.uk (@RedNBlueArmy1) August 14, 2016
But as the 2014/2015 ended, so did Palace’s upturn. For two years they’d been performing well above expectations. They’d stuck around in the Premier League for two full seasons.
Last season, however, they just started sinking. In the end they escaped the relegation mire, but arguably only because of the poor standard of their rivals. They couldn’t score goals, they were average at best defensively, and it looked like if they continued their descent, they’d be prime candidates for the drop this time around.
But as Sunday’s game at home to Stoke City showed, Palace have got their mojo back. Granted, Stoke are not the highest quality opposition right now, but the way Palace tore Mark Hughes’ team apart showed one thing: Alan Pardew’s side are more than good enough for this division. In fact, they’re more than good enough for the bottom half
When one considers the money that Palace have spent on players in the last few months, it seems fairly reasonable to expect results. And up until last week’s win at Middlesbrough, things weren’t looking good – those results didn’t seem to be coming.
Palace fans will be hoping – and hopeful – that Pardew’s side have turned the corner now. On the evidence of Sunday, it seems likely. Let’s see whether they continue that rise that has been on hold since 2015.
James Tomkins has scored his first Crystal Palace goal on his first start for the club.
Well met. pic.twitter.com/vRNgbEdZH9
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 18, 2016