Stats: Why Crystal Palace will miss Tony Pulis this season

Tony Pulis Interview - 23/02/2014

Crystal Palace parted company with the Welshman just two days before the Premier League season starts.

Tony Pulis parting company with Crystal Palace by mutual consent just two days prior to the start of the Premier League season is one of the most baffling football stories in recent years, and could have a major impact on the relegation battle.

Pulis took over at Selhurst Park in November of last year with Palace rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table and looking doomed for the drop.

The Welshman worked his magic, however, and kept the club comfortably in the top flight with an 11th-placed finish, earning himself Manager of the Year honours in the process.

Palace will undoubtedly miss Pulis in a number of areas after he transformed the club's fortunes so drastically last season, particularly in defence.

Under Ian Holloway, Crystal Palace conceded 21 goals in 12 games last season, making them the third-worst defensive team in the league. When Pulis joined, however, he vastly improved that record, letting in just 27 goals in his 27 games in charge. Only Manchester City and Chelsea conceded less goals in that period of time.

Palace were also more effective going forward with Pulis at the helm, as defence appeared to be their best form of attack.

With the team conceding fewer goals under Pulis, the counter-attack opened up. Palace failed to score once on the break before November, but the Welshman made them far more effective in that area. After his arrival they scored 7.41% of their goals on the counter, putting them seventh in that category.

Set pieces accounted for just one chance per game under Holloway, making Palace one of the worst teams in the league in that area. Under Pulis, however, they created 35 set-piece scoring opportunities over 27 games, ranking them seventh in the Premier League.

Pulis's long-ball style of football undoubtedly helped Palace last season. The club lead the league in forward pass percentage after his arrival, and that success will not be easy to replicate.

It is not as simple as lumping the ball up to the striker - the tactic relies upon a solid, disciplined defence and a highly organised counter attack.

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Whoever comes in to replace Pulis will have to convince the players to buy in to a new philosophy, or will need to effectively mimic his style.

The club will need a manager who can command the respect of the dressing room. Pulis is a big name and a major character, as Holloway was before him, and for a new boss to walk into Selhurst Park and to make an instant impact he will need to win the players over.

Will Crystal Palace be relegated without Tony Pulis?

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