Under pressure: Pardew's position looking fragile at Palace


December 03, 2016
@Normal:West Ham's Dimitri Payet (left) and Manchester United's Paul Pogba during the English Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on Sunday. The game ended 1-1.
@Normal:Crystal Palace's Yohan Cabaye (right) challenges Swansea City's Gylfi Sigurdsson for the ball during the English Premier League match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales, on November 26. Swansea won 5-4.


It took Swansea's new American owners less than three months to make their first managerial change, installing Bob Bradley in a bid to steer the club to Premier League safety.

The US businessmen in part-control of Crystal Palace have been in situ for nearly a year and now have their own coaching decision to take.

Pardew's position as Palace manager looks increasingly fragile, with the team losing its last six league games and conceding goals at an alarming rate. The chaotic 5-4 loss at Bradley's Swansea last weekend saw Palace at its infuriating worst, unable to defend set pieces or a lead going into injury time.

Pardew has reportedly held talks with Palace chairman Steve Parish, who along with American co-owners David Blitzer and Josh Harris will decide on the manager's future. A home loss to Southampton today could drop Palace, which is currently fourth-to-last in the standings, into the relegation zone.

"They are very patient and loyal," Pardew said two weeks ago of his American bosses, adding: "They're not looking for a short-term fix or a quick profit margin."

avoid relegation

Palace finished in a club-record 10th place in the Premier League in Pardew's first season in charge, then started last season well before a drastic dip in form saw it narrowly avoid relegation.

Southampton, meanwhile, is buoyant after beating Arsenal 2-0 on Wednesday to reach the semifinals of the English League Cup.

Also, second-place Liverpool begins a five-week spell without playmaker Philippe Coutinho in a match at Bournemouth on Saturday, when fourth-place Arsenal visits West Ham and Tottenham hosts Swansea.

Defending champion Leicester is two points above the bottom three going into a match at last-place Sunderland.

There was no hiding Pep Guardiola's appreciation of Antonio Conte when the Manchester City manager was asked who his major coaching rivals might be in his first season in English football.

"Conte is a master tactician," Guardiola said at his presentation news conference in July. "A great signing for Chelsea."

It should be an intriguing battle between two of the most respected tacticians in football.

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